St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin has opened a walk-in STI clinic in response to the national syphilis outbreak declared last week.
Newstalk revealed last Sunday that the infection is on the rise – with health officials warning that a large reservoir' of cases may be undiagnosed.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said early infectious syphilis (EIF) was already on the rise in Ireland before the pandemic.
After a small decrease during the first wave of the virus, rates of infection are climbing once again and are now higher than they were pre-pandemic.
The HPSC also warned of a potentially large undiagnosed reservoir of syphilis infections in Ireland as many STI services have been operating at a reduced level due to COVID.
St Vincent’s Hospital is now operating a walk-in STI centre every Friday between 8:30am and 4pm – closed between 12:30pm and 1:30pm for lunch.
Syphilis is a “very treatable” infection that can cause serious problems for the heart, brain, eyes and nervous system if left to its own devices.
Symptoms include a genital ulcer (primary chancre), rash, or eye problems (in particular symptoms and signs of uveitis).
The HSE said early recognition and treatment are critical to avoiding sickness and onward transmission.