The rising rate of syphilis infection over the past seven years
in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, has led the city to
reinforce disease-prevention among pregnant women, to rein in
According to figures from the Shenzhen center for disease
control and prevention (CDC), between 2000 and 2006, the annual
average rate of increase in the number of people contracting
syphilis was 30-40 percent.
Last year, the figure increased to 46 percent, but this was
still lower than both the national average increase rate (108
percent) and the provincial rate for Guangdong (89 percent).
Before 2001, male syphilis patients outnumbered female patients.
But this is no longer the case. And as a majority of patients are
now women, controlling and reducing mother-to-child syphilis
transmission is particularly important.
The city has held free syphilis examinations for 785,000
pregnant women since 2002, covering more than 95 percent of all
pregnant women in the city, according to Shenzhen Chronic Disease
The extensive screening found 3,579 pregnant women with the
From 2003 to 2006, 2,240 pregnant women who contracted syphilis
were brought into a mandatory syphilis control system, under which
hospitals focused on the care of newborn babies.
"Thanks to this, 2,218 of these women had healthy babies,
avoiding at least 603 congenital cases. Only 22 new-borns
contracted the disease," Hong Fuchang, the director of the venereal
disease department of the chronic disease hospital, said.
Hong said early detection was key to the battle against the
Shenzhen's CDC revealed that more than 80 percent of those with
syphilis were between 20 and 39, with no visible symptoms of
syphilis in the early stages. Hong said since syphilis examination
was not included in the usual physical check-up, people who have
unsafe sex should take the initiative and go in for screening
Treatment for the disease is cheap, and recovery is possible
within three weeks if an early diagnosis is made.
(China Daily August 31, 2007)