They are young, mostly female and their number is constantly growing: with nearly 344 000 notified cases in 2009 (1), chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) across Europe. Three quarters of all chlamydia infections are reported in young people between 15 and 24 years of age. This is highlighted by a new ECDC surveillance report ‘Sexually transmitted infections in Europe 1990–2009’ describing basic trends in diseases like chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea.
This first ECDC STI surveillance report covers data and trends on the five sexually transmitted infections (STI) that are being observed in the 30 countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA): syphilis, congenital syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV).
The report shows marked differences in trends across Europe. While chlamydia trends appear to be increasing in all but four countries (2), the overall trends in gonorrhoea and syphilis show a slight decrease (minus 8%) over the past decade. “However, the true number of sexually transmitted infections is likely to be substantially higher than reported today”, stresses ECDC Director Marc Sprenger. “Many diagnoses are either not made or not reported due to asymptomatic cases or because of the diversity in the healthcare and reporting systems across Europe. As infection with chlamydia can cause infertility in women, increasing levels being reported across Europe pose a significant public health problem.”
The report will be presented at the European Conference of National Strategies for Chlamydia Trachomatis and Human Papillomavirus in Latvia on 26 May.
Read ECDC press release
Download the ECDC STI surveillance report
Facts and figures of the STI surveillance report at a glance: download the presentation (ppt)
Read more on chlamydia in the ECDC Spotlight ’Chlamydia – high numbers, low awareness’
More on the ECDC Programme on HIV, STI and blood-borne diseases
1) 343 958 cases reported by 23 EU/EEA Member States (no chlamydia data from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and Germany)
2) Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia