Infectious syphilis outbreak in South Australia

An outbreak of infectious syphilis was declared in South Australia in May 2017.

The South Australian outbreak of infectious syphilis has been linked to an outbreak in Northern and Central Australia which began in 2011 and has since affected more than 1000 people in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, including deaths from congenital syphilis.

Syphilis is a serious infection which can spread easily.

If passed from a pregnant woman to her baby, syphilis can cause babies to be stillborn or have severe abnormalities affecting eyes, ears and bones. Contracting syphilis can also increase your risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Syphilis is most infectious within the first two years of infection during the primary and second stages (early infection) so early testing and treatment is important to stop the spread of infection.

Prevent the spread of syphilis by contacting your local health service, GP or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service to get tested for syphilis.

Visit the National Health Service Directory to find a health service or GP near you.

More information

For more information about infectious syphilis, see Syphilis symptoms, treatment and prevention.

For more information about the outbreak of infectious syphilis in South Australia:

 For more information about the outbreak of infectious syphilis in Northern and Central Australia, see Commonwealth Department of Health – Infectious syphilis outbreak.

For health promotion and educational resources related to infectious syphilis, see Young, Deadly, Syphilis Free.

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