Syphilis transmission networks and antimicrobial resistance in England uncovered using genomics

  18 September 2023

Scientists have used genomics to reveal distinct sexual networks for syphilis transmission, defined geographically or by sexual preference, among a background of wider circulation in England. They also show a presence of drug resistance in the majority of cases.

By grouping closely related strains of the bacterium that causes syphilis – Treponema pallidum –, researchers demonstrate how a large number of cases are linked together. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)* sequenced 237 whole genome samples and integrated this with epidemiological data to map the bacterium’s evolution and spread through a population. They show distinct transmission chains between individuals as well as significant resistance to a commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in England.

Further reading: Eurekalert
Author(s): Eurekalert
Effective Surveillance  
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