Compared with 2014, newly diagnosed syphilis cases increased by 19% to a total of 6,834 cases in 2015 in Germany with men accounting for 93.8% of cases.
Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 43, 27 October 2016
Table of Contents
In Germany, the number of reported syphilis cases increased between 11% and 22% per year between 2010 and 2014. We analysed syphilis surveillance data and data of four behavioural surveys on men who have sex with men (MSM) in Germany (2003, 2007, 2010, 2013) to assess if this rise is ongoing and to find possible explanations for it. Syphilis notifications increased in 2015 by 19% to a total of 6,834. This was mainly due to increasing notifications in MSM of all age groups in larger German cities. Data from the behavioural surveys on MSM in Germany showed a simultaneous increase of selective condom use as HIV-status-bases risk management strategy and the number of syphilis cases. MSM diagnosed with HIV reported condomless anal intercourse with non-steady partners more frequent than MSM not diagnosed with HIV or untested for HIV, but the latter also reported higher frequencies of this behaviour in the more recent surveys. Transmission in HIV-positive MSM probably plays an important, but not exclusive role, for the syphilis dynamics in Germany. A risk adapted routine screening for sexually active MSM and potentially innovative approaches to increase early screening and treatment of syphilis such as internet counselling, home sampling, home testing and broadening venue-based (rapid) testing, should be critically evaluated to effectively reduce syphilis infections.
Estonia had the highest rate of newly diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the European Union (24.6/100,000) and an estimated adult HIV prevalence of 1.3% in 2013. HIV medical care, including antiretroviral therapy (ART), is free of charge for people living with HIV (PLHIV). To maximise the health benefits of HIV treatment, universal access should be achieved. Using data from surveillance and administrative databases and the treatment cascade model, we assessed the number of people infected with HIV, diagnosed with HIV, linked to HIV care, retained in HIV care, on ART, and with suppressed viral load (HIV-RNA: < 200 copies/mL). We identified that about one quarter of the 8,628 HIV-positive people estimated to live in Estonia in 2013 had not been diagnosed with HIV, and another quarter, although aware of their HIV-positive serostatus, had not accessed HIV medical care. Although altogether only 12–15% of all PLHIV in Estonia had achieved viral suppression, the main gap in HIV care in Estonia were the 58% of PLHIV who had accessed HIV medical care at least once after diagnosis but were not retained in care in 2013.
Real-world estimates of seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) are important for early detection of vaccine failure. We developed a method for evaluating real-time in-season vaccine effectiveness (IVE) and overall seasonal VE. In a retrospective, register-based, cohort study including all two million individuals in Stockholm County, Sweden, during the influenza seasons from 2011/12 to 2014/15, vaccination status was obtained from Stockholm’s vaccine register. Main outcomes were hospitalisation or primary care visits for influenza (International Classification of Disease (ICD)-10 codes J09-J11). VE was assessed using Cox multivariate stratified and non-stratified analyses adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, comorbidities and previous influenza vaccinations. Stratified analyses showed moderate VE in prevention of influenza hospitalisations among chronically ill adults ≥ 65 years in two of four seasons, and lower but still significant VE in one season; 53% (95% confidence interval (CI): 33–67) in 2012/13, 55% (95% CI: 25–73) in 2013/14 and 18% (95% CI: 3–31) in 2014/15. In conclusion, seasonal influenza vaccination was associated with substantial reductions in influenza-specific hospitalisation, particularly in adults ≥ 65 years with underlying chronic conditions. With the use of population-based patient register data on influenza-specific outcomes it will be possible to obtain real-time estimates of seasonal influenza VE.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 27 October 2016
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