In 2016 the Field Epidemiology Service (FES) noted an increase in cases of infectious syphilis reported to the Enhanced Syphilis Surveillance Scheme (ESSS) from our clinic. From 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, 55 cases were reported to ESSS; compared with 12 cases from January to December 2015.Methods
Data was extracted from GUMCAD and the ESSS. FES collated and analysed the data using appropriate measures of disease frequency, central tendency and spread in order to describe the epidemiological characteristics of the cluster.Results
All cases were male The median age was 37 years (range 16 to 74). 75% were men who have sex with men (MSM), 18% heterosexual and 7% bisexual. 89% were of white British ethnicity. 64% were HIV negative. 18% reported chem-sex.Results
38% were diagnosed as primary syphilis, 36% secondary syphilis and 27% early latent syphilis.Results
Venue and/or web application information was recorded for 71% of cases. GRINDR was the most commonly mentioned application (48% of cases mentioning use).Discussion
In order to reduce syphilis transmission it is vital that new cases are identified and treated and strategies put in place to target populations at higher risk. Incident Management Team meetings were held in 2016 including representatives from Public Health England, GUM, sexual health promotion team and commissioners. Education and awareness programmes have been implemented focussing on specific websites, apps and venues such as bars and clubs popular among MSM. We continue to monitor cases of infectious syphilis on a monthly basis.