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Epidemiological trends in notified syphilis diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil
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  1. Célia Márcia Fernandes Maia1,
  2. Nelson Pereira Marques2,
  3. Verônica Oliveira Dias3,
  4. Daniella R. Barbosa Martelli3,
  5. Eduardo Araújo Oliveira4,5,
  6. Hercílio Martelli-Júnior3,6
  1. 1Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, State University of Montes Claros, UNIMONTES, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil
  2. 2Department of Oral Diagnosis, State University of Campinas, Piracicaba, Brazil
  3. 3Primary Care Postgraduate Program, Montes Claros State University, Montes Claros, Brazil
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  5. 5Nephrology Department, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  6. 6Center for Rehabilitation of Craniofacial Anomalies, Jose do Rosario Vellano University, Alfenas, Minas Gerais, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nelson Pereira Marques, Department of Oral Diagnosis, State University of Campinas, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil; neomarques{at}hotmail.com

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How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the incidence of syphilis remains unclear.1–4 We extracted data from the Brazilian Unified Health System public disease notification database to compare the mean number of syphilis cases reported from March to December 2017–2019 with those reported the same period of 2020. In all Brazilian macroregions, the incidence rates of syphilis per million population increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching +157% in the Southeast (table 1). The mean increase was +78% overall, corresponding to an additional 161 incident cases per million population.

Table 1

Incident cases of syphilis (per million population) reported by the Brazilian public health system between March and December of 2017, 2018 and 2019 (reported as mean incidence rate) and in the same period of 2020

The data suggest that the social distancing measures adopted during the pandemic were not capable of interfering with general sexual behaviours in Brazil. The observed increase in the number of syphilis cases should be further investigated to assist with decision-making processes and the programming of health measures.

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Contributors CMFM: conceptualisation; data curation; formal analysis; investigation; methodology; roles/writing—original draft; writing—review and editing. NPM: conceptualisation; data curation; formal analysis; investigation; methodology; roles/writing—original draft; writing—review and editing. VOD: conceptualisation; formal analysis; writing—review and editing. DRBM: conceptualisation; formal analysis; writing—review and editing. EAO: formal analysis; investigation; methodology; writing—review and editing. HM-J: conceptualisation; formal analysis; methodology; project administration; supervision; roles/writing—original draft; writing—review and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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