Intended for healthcare professionals


Sixth child dies from congenital syphilis in northern Australia

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 19 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1272
  1. Bianca Nogrady
  1. Sydney

Australia has recorded its sixth infant death from congenital syphilis, in a seven year long epidemic that has disproportionately impacted remote Aboriginal communities.

The outbreak began in January 2011 in northwest Queensland, and over the following two years spread across to the Northern Territory, then to Western Australia, and most recently to South Australia. It has also been accompanied by increasing rates of other sexually transmitted infections in young Aboriginal people in remote communities.

Cuts to sexual health services, particularly in Queensland in 2012 under then-premier Campbell Newman, have been blamed.

Basil Donovan, sexual health and public health physician and spokesperson from the Royal Australasian College of …

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