The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

Malta has second worst rate of syphilis cases in Europe in 2017

Friday, 12 July 2019, 11:21 Last update: about 12 months ago

Malta registered the second worst rate of syphilis cases in Europe in 2017, according to a report released today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Malta had a rate of 13.5 cases per 100,000 population; this is second only to Iceland, at 15.4, with the United Kingdom in third place at 11.8 cases per 100,000 people.

In 2017, 33,189 confirmed syphilis cases were reported in 28 countries, giving a crude notification rate of 7.1 cases per 100 000 population. Low rates below three cases per 100,000 population were observed in Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia.


The actual number of reported syphilis cases in Malta was 62 in 2017, according to the report. This is up from the 40 registered in 2016.

The overall male-to-female ratio in 2017 was 8.5:1, with rates of 12.0 cases per 100,000 population in men (25 229 cases) and 1.4 cases per 100,000 population in women (2 961 cases). The highest rates among men (above 15 cases per 100,000 population) were observed in Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom. Rates among women were highest (above 3 cases per 100,000 population) in Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.

Between 2010 and 2017, many countries, particularly in western Europe, observed a sharp increase in the number of reported syphilis infections, with increases of 50–100% in Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

Cases more than doubled in Belgium, France, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The largest increases were in Iceland, from 5 cases in 2010 to 52 in 2017, and Ireland, from 115 to 392.

Syphilis is a common bacterial infection that’s spread through sex. Syphilis is easily cured with antibiotic medicine, but it can cause permanent damage if not treated.

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