Public health warning as syphilis cases rise


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There has been a significant increase in the number of syphilis cases in recent months.

In the South West last year, there were 274 incidents recorded – a 59 per cent rise compared with 2016.

Symptoms can include small painless sores on the male or female sexual organs, white patches in the mouth, headaches, tiredness, swollen glands or a high fever.

Thara Raj, consultant for Public Health England in the South West, said: “It’s always best to use a condom with new partners and remember that a condom is just as important for oral sex. If changing partners frequently, regular testing for STIs is also important.

“Treatment of syphilis is highly effective and if you are concerned you have picked up an infection through sex, get in touch with your local sexual health clinic for further advice and treatment as soon as possible.”

“If left untreated it could spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious, long-term problems.”