London, May 6 (ANI): Every hour a child is born in China infected with Syphilis.
Almost wiped out 50 years ago, the easily curable bacterial disease has re-emerged in its largest city, Shanghai.
As per an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, prostitutes along with gay and bisexual men, many of who are married with families, are worsening the epidemic.
This increase is mirrored in the country's fast economic growth, causing both - businessmen and migrant labourers more cash and opportunity to pay for unsafe sex while away from home.
"In the '50s and '60s in China, syphilis and other STDs were extremely uncommon. The number of new cases has just rapidly accelerated," The Daily Express quoted Dr Joseph Tucker as saying. Dr Tucker is the lead author and an infectious disease specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in an interview.
"Even one baby born with syphilis in China is unacceptable," he adds.
Although the cure, a shot of penicillin, is cheap, the symptoms of this disease are not easily experienced or noted by people, and if left untreated, it can be fatal. Syphilis can also cause deafness, neurological problems or bone deformities in newborns.
With no medical facilities to check the transmission of the virus from the mother to the child, in China, the number of infected babies is staggering.
The World Health Organisation estimates 12 million people are infected with syphilis worldwide each year, affecting some 2 million pregnancies, with about one quarter of them resulting in miscarriages or stillbirths.
"This damage is irreversible," said Dr Connie Osborne, a senior HIV adviser at WHO in China. "Prevention of maternal syphilis combined with routine screening of pregnant women and early treatment of neonatal syphilis can prevent most, if not all, cases." (ANI)