Number of syphilis cases in Seychelles on the increase |27 January 2023
The Ministry of Health has recorded a considerable increase in the number of syphilis cases in the last three months.
In 2022, 71 confirmed syphilis cases were reported in Seychelles. This represents almost a twelve-fold increase compared to 2021! The annual average between 2015 and 2021 has been 3 cases.
Among the 71 reported syphilis cases in 2022, 63% were males and 37% were females.
The largest proportion of cases overall was reported in population groups 20‐34 years old but there are cases in most age groups from most districts of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can cause serious health problems if not treated on time.
Many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, yet, remain at risk for late complications if they are not treated.
You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or from mother to child during pregnancy or when giving birth.
It is a preventable disease and people can be cured from syphilis.
The Ministry of Health is urging the public to reduce their risk of getting Syphilis by:
• Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have syphilis if you are sexually active;
• Avoiding unsafe sexual practices;
• Using condoms the right way every time you have sex;
• Reporting to your nearest health facility if you have symptoms;
• Informing your partners if you test positive so that they may be tested and treated too;
• All pregnant women being strongly encouraged to attend their ante-natal appointments where routine tests are offered for syphilis in order to prevent transmission to their unborn children.
Symptoms of syphilis depend on the stage of presentation
Single sore or multiple sores on the genital mouth or throat. The sore is the location where syphilis entered your body. Sores are usually (but not always) firm, round, and painless.
During the secondary stage, you may have skin rashes and/or mucous membrane lesions. Mucous membrane lesions are sores in your mouth, vagina, or anus. This stage usually starts with a rash on one or more areas of your body. The rash can look like rough, red, or reddish brown spots on the palms of your hands and/or the bottoms of your feet.
Other symptoms you may have can include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue (feeling very tired). The symptoms from this stage will go away whether or not you receive treatment. Without the right treatment, your infection will move to the latent and possibly tertiary stages of syphilis.
The latent stage of syphilis is a period of time when there are no visible signs or symptoms of syphilis. If you do not receive treatment, you can continue to have syphilis in your body for years without any signs or symptoms.
It can affect many different organ systems. These include the heart and blood vessels, the brain and nervous system. Tertiary syphilis is very serious and would occur years after your infection began. In tertiary syphilis, the disease damages your internal organs and can result in death.
Prevention and early detection
Testing for syphilis is available in all local health facilities. Anyone who is sexually active should discuss their risk factors and testing with a healthcare provider.
Safer sex is any sexual activity that does not allow semen, vaginal fluids or blood to pass from an infected person into the body of another person.
Press release from the Ministry of Health