Ocular syphilis on the rise

New research highlights escalating levels of the infection globally

Wide open blue eye

The incidence of ocular syphilis is increasing, according to new research published in Scientific Reports.

Researchers observed that the Centers for Disease Prevention have released a series of reports over the past three years highlighting an increasing incidence of syphilis in the US.

The authors note that cases of ocular syphilis have been reported in the US, Europe and Australasia, suggesting that “the condition is re-emerging, consistent with the increasing incidence of the systemic infection.”

The incidence of ocular syphilis is increasing in Brazil with the Hospital Sao Paulo reporting that presentations of the condition accounted for 1.8% of patients within its uveitis service between 1975 and 1979. This increased to 6.1% of patients in 2012 and 2013.

As part of the research, authors observed 127 patients diagnosed with ocular syphilis in Brazil over a two and a half year period.

Researchers reported reductions in visual acuity among the group as well as multiple anterior and posterior eye complications.

“In an era of re-emergence, syphilis has ocular complications that may compromise vision, despite treatment with appropriate anti-microbial drugs,” the authors observed.

Image credit: Karen Roe