The Syphilis Outbreak

The syphilis outbreak continues to evolve.

The Multijurisdictional Syphilis Outbreak Group (MJSO) produces surveillance reports (formerly known as communiques) which provide updates on epidemiological data for the syphilis outbreak, and the Group’s activities. Its latest  February 2021—30th Surveillance Report [PDF: 319 KB] shows that 4017 cases of infectious syphilis have been reported among Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in affected regions of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia since the syphilis outbreak was declared in January 2011. These cases are predominantly among young people aged 15–29 years.

Please note: On 19 November 2020, the MJSO Working Group endorsed the extension of the ‘target age group’ from 15–29 years to 15–34 years. This change came into effect from the February 2021 Surveillance Report (noting there were no reports produced between November 2020 and January 2021).

There have now been 7 deaths due to congenital syphilis (3 confirmed; 4 probable). We urgently need strong and concerted cross-jurisdictional actions to increase STI and BBV testing rates for young people in regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to stop new infections, and ensure early diagnosis and treatment.

Source: February 2021 Surveillance Report

Young Deadly Free is a project by the University of Queensland Poche Centre for Indigenous Health (formerly the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute). © UQ POCHE 2024

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