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Medical News

The Characterization of a Recent Syphilis Outbreak in Sheffield, U.K., and an Evaluation of Contact Tracing as a Method of Control

July 16, 2007

The study authors sought to explore the factors around and the success of contact-tracing in a recent major outbreak of infectious syphilis in Sheffield, and to evaluate the effectiveness of this standard control strategy.

A retrospective chart review revealed that over a period of 18 months, several discrete "micro" outbreaks in different groups were identified among the general outbreak of 21 cases. The authors found two patterns had emerged: a relatively straightforward and more accessible cluster in heterosexual persons (a "spread" network), and more sporadic, "starburst" networks in men who have sex with men.

"Our traditional method of control, contact-tracing, was seen to be most effective in the spread network in heterosexuals," the researchers concluded. "In the face of an apparent outbreak, clinicians should explore the nature and parameters of their local epidemic and engage a mixture of control methods. These may include, but not exclusively so, contact-tracing to interrupt transmission by case-finding and by treatment."

Back to other news for July 2007

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
7.13.2007; Vol. 83: P. 193-199; Selena Singh; Gill Bell; Martin Talbo

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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