Over the course of the decade period between 2007 and 2017, Malta’s rates of confirmed syphilis cases have risen by almost 500%.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s latest technical report entitled ‘Syphilis and Congenital syphilis in Europe,’ the past decade has seen Malta rate of syphilis increase dramatically per head of population.

The figures show that for every 100,000 people in the Maltese population, there were 62 confirmed cases in 2017. This demonstrates a major increase on the 11 confirmed cases back in 2007.

Malta has more cases in 2017 than in Luxembourg (26), Estonia (34), Cyprus (21), Slovenia (48) and Iceland (52) in 2017. However, Malta’s numbers are far eclipsed by the likes of Belgium (1493), Italy (1631), France (1748) and even Germany (7473).

When compared to other EU nations with confirmed cases, Malta is ranked as second place in the rate of change.

Malta registered a 13.5% increase, just slightly lower than Iceland on 15.4% but almost 2% higher than the United Kingdom (11.8%) and Spain (10.3%).

Notification rates double for men

The data also reveals that notification rates for men doubled in the time between 2010 and 2017.

According to the cases per 100,000, this grew from 6 cases to 12 in only 7 years. This doubling trend for men was also seen in Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and the UK. The same was seen for women, with Malta sitting on par with Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway and the UK.

Majority of cases of syphilis cases also HIV Positive

The report also found that the highest numbers of confirmed cases of syphilis were connected with people who were HIV Positive MSM (Males having sex with Males).

This accounted for 95% of all cases. 42% were instead were known or were newly diagnosed with HIV.

This data was collected from Malta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.