Syphilis explosion in Melbourne as the number of cases spike to 1400 in one year – here’s the list of suburbs most at risk
- The sexually transmitted infection has appeared in the city’s south east and west
- 1400 cases of syphilis were recorded in Victoria in 2020, and 560 so far this year
- Brimbank, in the north west, was the city’s hotspot with 56 cases last year
An outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis is rapidly spreading through Melbourne.
Statistics by Alfred Health’s Melbourne Sexual Health Centre revealed there has been a high concentration of the infection, which can cause serious harm if not treated, detected in the city’s outer south east and west.
More than 1400 cases of syphilis were recorded in Victoria in 2020, and already 560 so far this year.
The city’s syphilis hotspot was Brimbank, which recorded 56 cases last year, followed by Melton with 46 infections and Casey with 42 detected.
Statistics show there has been a high concentration of the infection, which can cause serious harm if not treated, detected in the city’s outer south east and west
Syphilis is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious when the sore or rash is present. Pictuted:
Syphilis is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious when the sore or rash is present.
The health centre found there had been a 220 per cent spike in syphilis cases among females in recent years.
The startling statistics come despite Melbournians being spending nearly half of 2020 in lockdown.
Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity professor of microbiology Deborah Williamson said experts are now using similar Covid tracing measures to identify outbreaks and understand the disease.
‘It’s an ancient disease, but the way we have diagnosed and treated it hasn’t really changed for many, many years,’ Professor Williamson told The Age.
‘We think applying these cutting-edge technologies that we have used for coronavirus will be quite transformative for this disease, which has long plagued humankind.’
Victoria Health says syphilis is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious when the syphilis sore or rash is present.
Syphilis can be treated with long-acting penicillin, and anyone with the infection should avoid sexual contact until treatment is completed.
What is Syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated.
People can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
You can find sores on or around the penis, vagina, or anus, or in the rectum, on the lips, or in the mouth. Syphilis can spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.
Without treatment, syphilis can lead to damage throughout your body. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy.
Treatment can help prevent future damage but can’t repair or reverse damage that’s already occurred.