Brazil accumulated more than 360,000 cases of syphilis between January 2018 and June 2020, according to the most recent data from the Ministry of Health. The problem is that this picture may not reflect the reality of the country due to the covid pandemic -19, which caused fewer people to undergo exams and consultations.
Specialists from the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), who made the survey based on the Ministry of Health, suspect that thousands of patients did not seek health services when manifesting signs and symptoms of this disease.
“Many people have not been able to or are afraid to schedule appointments because of covid-19. There is, for example, a decrease in prenatal care among women. Another point is that we do not have an active search for contacts in Brazil”, said the coordinator of the SBD Department of IST & AIDS, Márcio Soares Serra.
“Furthermore, despite syphilis being a notifiable disease, this is not always done. Together, all these factors can further complicate our epidemiological situation,” he added.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum.
Its main form of transmission is through sexual intercourse without a condom, but it can be acquired, more rarely, through contact with contaminated blood such as blood transfusions or during childbirth.
The disease has several clinical manifestations and different stages. At first, it may be unnoticeable and, in some stages, it may have sores that disappear on their own, causing a false sense of healing.
These small painless sores can appear on Organs sex organs, rectum or inside the mouth. The problem is that people often don’t realize it right away.
About eight weeks after infection, red spots may appear throughout the body, swollen nodes, and fever. This is called the secondary stage of syphilis.
Free diagnosis in SUS
The rapid syphilis test is available free of charge by SUS, at basic health units. The result comes out within 30 minutes. This test also detects HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Prevention and treatment
Syphilis is curable, but if not treated in time, it has serious health consequences and can even be fatal.
The treatment is also offered free of charge at Basic Health Units (UBSs) and improves the patient’s quality of life, in addition to interrupting the transmission chain.
Correct and regular use of condoms is an important measure of disease prevention.
See below the epidemiological bulletin of cases between the years 2010 and 2018.