By Jill McGivering
The Lancet reports that China - which virtually eliminated syphilis in the 1960s and 70s - is now seeing the disease return with alarming intensity.
It reveals that reported rates have risen from 0.2 cases per 100,000 in 1993 to 5.7 cases per 100,000 in 2005.
Dramatic intervention is now needed, one of the report's authors says.
The study involved doctors from China's National Centre for STD Control in Nanjing and from the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine.
Dr Myron Cohen, a co-author of the report, described the spread of the disease as "fantastically rapid".
Syphilis resurgent in China (Comment by David N Fisman, The Lancet)
China’s Health Calamity: Causes and Consequences
A Panel Discussion with Bates Gill, Myron Cohen and David M. Lampton
The Nixon Center, Washington, DC June 4, 2003
The Lancet Podcast - 13 January 2007 (mp3, 7.88Mb)
This week's podcast features an interview with Dr Miren Cohen from the University of North Carolina, one of the authors of a research article documenting a resurgence of syphilis in China over the past decade. A range of unique biological and social forces are responsible for the latest epidemic.Syphilis rates skyrocket in China (New Scientist)
or, to put it bluntly: Sex Practice Changes in China Lead to Jump in Syphilis Cases.