The island territories of the South Pacific vary considerably in area and in size of population; Pitcairn has a population of 100 in two square miles whereas Papua New Guinea has a population of 2,990,000 in approximately 175,000 square miles. Today the whole ocean is traversed by air routes. Recently, the prevalence of gonorrhoea has decreased in the northern region but increased in the eastern and western; in all these regions the reported prevalence exceeds 200 cases per 100,00 population. In an area where yaws was once widespread, syphilis is being increasingly recognised. Although the figures for syphilis are clearly higher because of the greater use of serological screening, many of the reported cases are of early infection. Yaws has been eliminated from most of the South Pacific Islands but is still present in the western region--more than 99% of the reported cases occurring in Papua New Guinea, particularly in the offshore islands.
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