Fact sheet - Health conditions directory
Syphilis is a highly infectious sexually transmissible infection (STI) caused by the Treponema pallidum bacteria.
There is currently an ongoing infectious syphilis outbreak affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. Information is available at the Department of Health, Australian Government website. This outbreak is occurring within the geographical areas served by the Cairns and Hinterland, North West, Torres and Cape, and Townsville Hospital and Health Services.
There also continues to be an increase in notifications of infectious syphilis across the state among men who have sex with men, young heterosexual non-Indigenous men and women, and transgender people.
Public health management guidelines
- Notification criteria for pathology laboratories (PDF, 55kB)
- List of all Pathological, clinical and provisional diagnosis notifiable conditions
- List of Public Health Unit contacts
- Syphilis Case Report Form - North Queensland
- Syphilis Case Report Form - South East Queensland
- Australian STI Management Guidelines for use in Primary Care – an online resource for primary care health professionals which provide concise information to support the prevention, testing, diagnosis, management and treatment of STIs.
- Australian Sexually Transmitted Infection & HIV Testing Guidelines 2014 for asymptomatic men who have sex with men.
Resources for health professionals
Queensland Syphilis Surveillance Service
The Queensland Syphilis Surveillance Service (QSSS) is a secure, confidential, single state-wide database established to improve the accuracy of syphilis reporting, monitor trends in syphilis notifications and improve the management of individuals affected by syphilis. All laboratory-based positive syphilis test results for Queensland residents are reported to the QSSS.
The QSSS records the history of an individual’s pathology results for all tests related to the diagnosis and monitoring of syphilis and any associated treatment. It aims to provide the treating clinician with information about a client’s history of syphilis infection to assist in the diagnosis, management, education and treatment. The QSSS also requests information from diagnosing clinicians to confirm treatment, keep the records complete and inform service providers about risk factors for contracting syphilis.
Phone: 1800 032 238
- South Queensland - QLD-Syphilis-Surveillance-Service@health.qld.gov.au
- North Queensland - North-Qld-Syphilis-Surveillance-Centre@health.qld.gov.au
Epidemiological data and reports
- View communicable diseases data for notifiable conditions in Queensland.
- Notifications of Syphilis in Queensland 2010-2015 (PDF, 838KB) - Communicable Diseases Branch, June 2016
- Annual Surveillance Report – analysis of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia produced by The Kirby Institute.