Health protection – collection

Syphilis: surveillance, data and management

The diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of syphilis.

Syphilis is a sexually acquired infection caused by a bacteria-like spirochete Treponema pallidum.

Syphilis can be transmitted between partners during sexual intercourse and from an infected pregnant woman across the placenta to a developing baby.

Infection during pregnancy usually results in miscarriage, stillbirth or a congenitally infected baby. Maternal infection is detectable and treatable which prevents transmission to the baby.

Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics.

For symptoms and general information on syphilis, visit NHS Choices.

Data collection and epidemiology

PHE in collaboration with the UCL Institute of Child Health and the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit conducted a surveillance of congenital syphilis in children under 2 years of age between 1 February 2010 and 31 January 2015.

The survey aimed to estimate the incidence of congenital syphilis, identify factors associated with cases of congenital infection and inform efforts to improve healthcare systems to ensure that women and their babies are managed appropriately. The investigation complemented the study of antenatal screening pathways undertaken by the Syphilis Task Group, a sub-committee of the National Screening Committee.

The PHE study has now finished. Further details are available on the BPSU website.

  1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): annual data tables

    • 14 October 2014
    • Statistics
  2. Infectious syphilis and congenital syphilis: recent epidemiology

    • 1 November 2013
    • Research and analysis
  3. HIV and STI: data sharing policy

    • 23 July 2009
    • Guidance
  4. GUMCADv2: data request form

    • 29 September 2009
    • Form

Diagnosis and management

The British Association for Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) issues UK national guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and management of all sexually transmitted infections.

British HIV Association (BHIVA)

Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare

  1. STBRU: reference and diagnostic services

    • 1 July 2014
    • Detailed guide
  2. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): managing outbreaks

    • 23 December 2010
    • Guidance
  3. SMI V 44: Serological diagnosis of Syphilis

    • 3 April 2014
    • Guidance
  4. National antenatal infection screening and monitoring form

    • 19 February 2012
    • Form
  5. Infectious diseases during pregnancy: screening, vaccination and treatment

    • 12 May 2012
    • Detailed guide