Which patient groups have the highest incidence of endemic syphilis?

Updated: Sep 14, 2020
  • Author: Hassan I Galadari, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Endemic syphilis can affect anyone. Because it is endemic in certain areas of the world, the disease mostly affects ethnic groups found in those regions.

Both sexes are equally affected, especially in the pediatric population. This varies with the geographic region. In adults, however, women are slightly more susceptible, probably because they are the primary interactants with children, either as caregivers or during breastfeeding.

Children aged 2-15 years are the most commonly affected by endemic syphilis, with 25% of cases occurring before age 6 years and 55% of cases occurring before age 16 years. The remaining 20% of cases occur in adults who are in close contact with children who are infected. [5]

The incidence of endemic syphilis has increased among HIV-infected men in same-sex relationships. A study at a hospital in Malaga, Spain, showed an increase from 1.2% in 2007 to 7.8% in 2012. [6]

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