Syphilis in Greenland, 2015 to 2019

Marianne Welzel Andersen, Mila Broby Johansen, Karen Bjorn-Mortensen, Michael Lynge Pedersen, Jørgen Skov Jensen, Anders Koch


BACKGROUND: An increase in the incidence of syphilis was reported in Greenland from 2011 to 2014, and notification rates kept rising in the following years in spite of focused efforts. To better understand the syphilis epidemic, this study was conducted to describe the syphilis epidemic in Greenland from 2015 to 2019.

METHODS: Syphilis cases and their characteristics were identified through reviews of electronic medical records and laboratory results in 3 different data sets: notifications to the National Board of Health, electronic prescriptions for benzathine penicillin, and the national laboratory database. Annual incidences were calculated stratified by sex, age, and region.

RESULTS: The incidence of syphilis in Greenland increased from 107.4 to 246.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants from 2015 to 2019. The incidence increased in both sexes and in nearly all regions, although with large regional differences. Especially the age group 15 to 29 years showed a substantial increase in incidence in 2018 and 2019. More females than males were infected (245 female cases vs. 178 male cases).

CONCLUSIONS: The burden of syphilis in Greenland is high, primarily among the age group 15 to 29 years. A higher incidence among females than among males was found, suggesting mainly heterosexual transmission, as seen for other sexually transmitted infections in Greenland.

TidsskriftSexually Transmitted Diseases
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)190-196
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 1 mar. 2022


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