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      An Update on the Global Epidemiology of Syphilis

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      Current Epidemiology Reports
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          <div class="section"> <a class="named-anchor" id="S1"> <!-- named anchor --> </a> <h5 class="section-title" id="d7654016e112">Purpose of Review</h5> <p id="P1">Syphilis continues to cause morbidity and mortality worldwide. While syphilis infection is easily identifiable and treatable, rates of syphilis infection continue to increase among select populations in high-income countries and remain at endemic levels in low- and middle-income counties. </p> </div><div class="section"> <a class="named-anchor" id="S2"> <!-- named anchor --> </a> <h5 class="section-title" id="d7654016e117">Recent findings</h5> <p id="P2">World Health Organization recommended strategies have led to the dual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV in several countries, however outbreaks among select populations need to be adequately addressed. </p> </div><div class="section"> <a class="named-anchor" id="S3"> <!-- named anchor --> </a> <h5 class="section-title" id="d7654016e122">Summary</h5> <p id="P3">Continued vigilance and investment is needed to address syphilis worldwide. The epidemiology of syphilis differs in high-income and low- and middle-income counties. </p> </div>

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          Most cited references148

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          The role of sexually transmitted diseases in HIV transmission.

          More than 42 million people worldwide are now infected with HIV, in spite of sustained prevention activities. Although the spread of HIV has been primarily sexual, epidemiological studies have indicated that the efficiency of the spread of HIV is poor, perhaps as infrequently as 1 in every 1,000 episodes of sexual intercourse. However, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that cause ulcers or inflammation greatly increase the efficiency of HIV transmission--by increasing both the infectiousness of, and the susceptibility to HIV infection. STDs might be particularly important in the early stages of a localized HIV epidemic, when people with risky sexual behaviour are most likely to become infected. In China, eastern Europe and Russia, there has been a remarkable increase in the incidence of STDs in recent years, and this is reflected in the rapid increase in the spread of HIV in these areas. Targeted STD detection and treatment should have a central role in HIV prevention in these emerging epidemics.
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            Biological basis for syphilis.

            Syphilis is a chronic sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum. Clinical manifestations separate the disease into stages; late stages of disease are now uncommon compared to the preantibiotic era. T. pallidum has an unusually small genome and lacks genes that encode many metabolic functions and classical virulence factors. The organism is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and has not been continuously cultivated in vitro. Nonetheless, T. pallidum is highly infectious and survives for decades in the untreated host. Early syphilis lesions result from the host's immune response to the treponemes. Bacterial clearance and resolution of early lesions results from a delayed hypersensitivity response, although some organisms escape to cause persistent infection. One factor contributing to T. pallidum's chronicity is the paucity of integral outer membrane proteins, rendering intact organisms virtually invisible to the immune system. Antigenic variation of TprK, a putative surface-exposed protein, is likely to contribute to immune evasion. T. pallidum remains exquisitely sensitive to penicillin, but macrolide resistance has recently been identified in a number of geographic regions. The development of a syphilis vaccine, thus far elusive, would have a significant positive impact on global health.
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              Prevalence of malaria and sexually transmitted and reproductive tract infections in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.

              Malaria and sexually transmitted infections/reproductive tract infections (STIs/RTIs) in pregnancy are direct and indirect causes of stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight, and maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of malaria and STI/RTI prevalence estimates among pregnant women attending antenatal care facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry, and reference lists were searched for studies reporting malaria, syphilis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, or bacterial vaginosis among pregnant women attending antenatal care facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Included studies were conducted in 1990-2011 with open enrollment. Studies from South Africa, where malaria is no longer endemic, were excluded. Point prevalence estimates were corrected for diagnostic precision. A random-effects model meta-analysis was applied to produce pooled prevalence estimates. A total of 171 studies met inclusion criteria, providing 307 point prevalence estimates for malaria or STIs/RTIs and including a total of 340 904 women. The pooled prevalence estimates (with 95% CIs and number of women with positive diagnosis) among studies in 1990-2011 in East and Southern Africa were as follows: syphilis, 4.5% (3.9%-5.1%; n = 8346 positive diagnoses), N gonorrhoeae, 3.7% (2.8%-4.6%; n = 626), C trachomatis, 6.9% (5.1%-8.6%; n = 350), T vaginalis, 29.1% (20.9%-37.2%; n = 5502), bacterial vaginosis, 50.8% (43.3%-58.4%; n = 4280), peripheral malaria, 32.0% (25.9%-38.0%; n = 11 688), and placental malaria, 25.8% (19.7%-31.9%; n = 1388). West and Central Africa prevalence estimates were as follows: syphilis, 3.5% (1.8%-5.2%; n = 851), N gonorrhoeae, 2.7% (1.7%-3.7%; n = 73), C trachomatis, 6.1% (4.0%-8.3%; n = 357), T vaginalis, 17.8% (12.4%-23.1%; n = 822), bacterial vaginosis, 37.6% (18.0%-57.2%; n = 1208), peripheral malaria, 38.2% (32.3%-44.1%; n = 12 242), and placental malaria, 39.9% (34.2%-45.7%; n = 4658). The dual prevalence of malaria and STIs/RTIs in pregnancy among women who attend antenatal care facilities in sub-Saharan Africa is considerable, with the combined prevalence of curable STIs/RTIs being equal to, if not greater than, malaria.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Current Epidemiology Reports
                Curr Epidemiol Rep
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                2196-2995
                March 2018
                February 19 2018
                March 2018
                : 5
                : 1
                : 24-38
                Article
                10.1007/s40471-018-0138-z
                6089383
                30116697
                2a362883-6154-41b1-b970-c6a35a315c54
                © 2018

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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