An outbreak of syphilis in Oslo

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Summary:During 1999 and 2000, an outbreak of syphilis occurred in Norway: 93 cases were reported to the National Institute of Public Health. This report summarizes a retrospective investigation of the medical records of 60 patients with primary, secondary and early latent syphilis treated during 1999-2000 at the Department of STD at the Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo. Five women and 55 men were treated, mean age 38.6 and 44.9 years, respectively. Of the 60 cases, 14 (23.3%) had primary, 39 (65.0) secondary and seven (11.7%) early latent syphilis. Men who have sex with men (MSM) constituted 78.2% (43/55) of the male patients. Transmission among MSM was related to casual sexual contacts in bathhouses in Oslo. Two cases occurred among men with previously diagnosed HIV infection. Two new cases of HIV were reported. Condom use was inconsistent, and seldom used for oral sex.

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