The number of notified cases of syphilis has increased by 70 per cent across Europe since 2010, new data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) show.
Overall, 260,505 confirmed syphilis cases were reported by 30 European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries between 2007 and 2017.
The number of annual reported cases decreased from 19,898 cases in 2007 to a low of 18,829 cases in 2010, before increasing continuously to 33,193 cases in 2017 - an all-time high since the start of ECDC surveillance recording.
The incidence rate dropped to a low of 4.2 per 100,000 persons in 2010, before reaching a peak of 7.1 per 100,000 population in 2017. This means that for the first time since the early 2000s, EU/EEA countries are now reporting more cases of syphilis than HIV.
The data show striking variations between countries. Between 2010 and 2017, 15 countries reported that the notification rate had increased by more than 15 per cent. However, rates more than doubled in five countries: Iceland (876%), Ireland (224%), the United Kingdom (153%), Germany (144%) and Malta (123%). On the other hand, Estonia and Romania reported a drop of 50 per cent or more over the same period.