Introduction Diagnoses of infectious syphilis have risen dramatically in the UK since the late 1990s. This resurgence has been facilitated by a number of outbreaks across the UK, occurring mainly in men who have sex with men but also in heterosexual men and women.
In response, a number of enhanced surveillance initiatives have been developed and implemented across England to collect timely demographic, clinical and risk factor information. These run alongside the routine surveillance system for sexually transmitted infections, the quarterly Genitourinary Medicine Clinic Activity Dataset (GUMCADv2). The system in the East of England is described here.
Methods Up to 2016 two paper based forms were utilised. A one page ‘surveillance’ form was completed for every case of infectious syphilis, and a more detailed ‘investigation’ form used if an unusual increase required investigation. During 2016 these two forms were merged and information is now entered into an online form. All forms are completed by the diagnosing clinic.
Data collected is used to generate automatic reports, identify and investigate any unusual increases and for audits against GUMCADv2.
Results Enhanced surveillance has allowed the identification of a number of unusual increases prompting timely and appropriate investigations to be launched; identified opportunities to improve reporting standards. The change to an online system has improved the timeliness and accuracy of reporting and made the system more secure.
Discussion Ongoing enhanced surveillance complementing GUMCADv2 is important. This information provides timely intelligence on the epidemiology of infectious syphilis across the region.