Objective: To explore the factors around and the success of contact-tracing in a recent major outbreak of infectious syphilis in Sheffield, and to evaluate the effectiveness of it, our hitherto standard strategy of control.
Method: Retrospective chart review
Results: Over a period of 18 months, an outbreak of 21 cases was, on closer inspection, the result of several, discrete “micro” outbreaks in different groups. Two major patterns emerged, a relatively straightforward and more accessible cluster in heterosexual persons (a “spread” network), and more sporadic, “starburst” networks in men who have sex with men.
Conclusion: Our traditional method of control, contact-tracing, was seen to be most effective in the spread network in heterosexuals. In the face of an apparent outbreak, clinicians should explore the nature and parameters of their local epidemic and engage a mixture of control methods. These may include, but not excusively so, contact-tracing to interrupt transmission by case-finding and by treatment.
- MSM, men who have sex with men
- STI, sexually transmitted infections
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Published Online First 6 December 2006
Competing interests: None.
Contributors: MT and GB had the original idea for the project and oversaw the work of SS who collected the original data. This was collated and enhanced by MT and GB. All contributed to writing the text.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.