Syphilis - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2018

Surveillance report
Time period covered: This report is based on data for 2018 retrieved from The European Surveillance System (TESSy) on 29 November 2018.

ECDC’s annual surveillance reports provide a wealth of epidemiological data to support decision-making at the national level. They are mainly intended for public health professionals and policymakers involved in disease prevention and control programmes.

Executive summary

  • In 2018, 33 927 confirmed syphilis cases were reported in 29 EU/EEA Member States, with a crude notification rate of 7.0 cases per 100 000 population.
  • Reported syphilis rates were nine times higher in men than in women and showed a peak for 25–34-year-old men (29 cases per 100 000 population).
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of syphilis cases with information on transmission category were reported in men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • The trend in syphilis rates has been on the rise since 2011 and up to 2017, particularly among men and mainly due to an increase in the number of cases among MSM. In 2018, the increase seems to have halted.
  • Compared with 2017, the number of MSM cases with HIV-negative status increased by 7% in 2018.

See all updates on syphilis


Communicable disease threats report, 4-10 July 2021, week 27

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Related diseases

Chlamydia infection

Genital chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium.

Congenital syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochaeta Treponema pallidum. It is the third most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease in the
EU after chlamydia and gonorrhoea.


Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is spread through contact with infected body fluids or blood products.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness that lasts only a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness resulting in cirrhosis and liver cancer.

HIV infection and AIDS

HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system and causes a lifelong severe illness with a long incubation period. The end-stage of the infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), results from the destruction of the immune system.

Lymphogranuloma venereum

LGV is a systemic STI caused by a specific type of Chlamydia trachomatis ( serovars L1 , L2, and L3 ).


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It may also be transmitted mother-to-child (congenital syphilis).