There was a reported increase in some communicable diseases in Central Queensland this year.
There was a reported increase in some communicable diseases in Central Queensland this year.

Syphilis, gonorrhoea, influenza on CQ watch list this year

The Central Queensland Public Health Unit, which monitors communicable diseases,

spent much of 2020 keeping an eye on syphilis, gonorrhoea, and influenza.

As of December 6, there had been 34 notifications of syphilis in Central Queensland, compared with 29 last year and 14 in 2016.

A continuing outbreak of infectious syphilis in the area was declared in April 2019.

Gonorrhoea notifications also increased - there were 293 gonorrhoea notifications in 2020, compared with 214 last year and 76 in 2016.

The count of laboratory-confirmed influenza was 289 this year, compared with

3,959 in 2019 and 974 in 2016.

Communicable disease notifications to CQ Public Health Unit from January 1 to December 6, 2020.
Communicable disease notifications to CQ Public Health Unit from January 1 to December 6, 2020.

Public Health director Dr Gulam Khandaker said syphilis and gonorrhoea could have

serious complications if not treated early and people may not be aware that they were

affected.

"We encourage people to get tested and treated to minimise the spread," he said.

"The higher number of cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea this year and last year are likely to be due to increased testing.

"Sexually transmitted infection testing is vital, including for syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV, to all young people aged 15 to 40, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous gay men and other men who have sex with men."

Dr Khandaker said influenza cases this year had been significantly lower than previous years.

"The social distancing and infection control methods that have been in place are slowing the spread of other respiratory viruses as well as coronavirus," he said.

The Public Health Unit is notified of cases of certain conditions when it is diagnosed by health professionals or through laboratory testing.

Not all diagnosable infections are required to be notified to the Public Health Unit.



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