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  • 5/8/2010

One baby with syphilis born every hour in China: study


One child was born with syphilis every hour in China in 2008, researchers said, as new money from the country's growing economy fuels the world's fastest-growing epidemic of the disease.

Syphilis was almost wiped out in China 50 years ago, but it is now the most commonly reported disease in Shanghai, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Syphilis is a bacterial infection which can easily be tackled with antibiotics if diagnosed early, but if left untreated can lead to paralysis, blindness and death.

No other country has seen such a rapid rise in syphilis cases since the discovery of penicillin, the researchers said.

Quick syphilis tests using finger-prick blood samples have allowed screening for the disease to be expanded outside clinics, to saunas and other entertainment venues, the researchers said.

Government programs to help this expansion have laid the foundations to tackle the epidemic, the article said, but more funding and greater recognition of the disease as a public health issue were needed to bring syphilis under control.

Source: tehrantimes.com

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