Qld suffering worst outbreak of syphilis in 30 years

Secondary stage syphilis sores (lesions) on the palms of the hands. Source: CDC
Secondary stage syphilis sores (lesions) on the palms of the hands. Source: CDC

QUEENSLAND is battling its worst worst outbreak of syphilis in 30 years with 500 new cases since 2010.

Only four years ago the Medical Journal of Australia predicted syphilis - which causes lesions in the brain and blindness - would be eradicated in remote Queensland with screening and basic penicillin shots.

It occurs in four stages beginning with small, painless sores mostly around the genitals, but gradually turning to red rashes and blotches on the hands.

The escalating rate of syphilis in Queensland's far north is 300 times more frequent amongst indigenous people, than among the non-indigenous community.

The outbreak began in Queensland's Doomadgee four years ago and has now spread across the top of Australia.

Indigenous babies are dying with congenital syphilis, meaning the symptoms have been passed on during the pregnancy.


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