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Multijurisdictional Syphilis Outbreak Working Group (MJSO)

 

The Multijurisdictional Syphilis Outbreak Working Group (MJSO) was formed by the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) in April 2015, in response to an ongoing outbreak of syphilis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living largely in remote and rural areas of northern Australia. Increased notifications associated with the outbreak in northern Australia were first reported in January 2011 in northwest Queensland, followed by the Northern Territory in July 2013, and the Kimberley region of Western Australia in June 2014.

The below communiques summarises the outbreak epidemiological data and the activities of the MJSO.

 

Background

In January 2011, an increase of infectious syphilis notifications among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was identified in the North West region of Queensland. Subsequent increases in notifications were reported in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in July 2013 and June 2014 respectively, following sustained periods of low notification rates. In 2012, in response to increased notifications, the Western Australian Department of Health led and funded, with in-kind contributions from the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia the development of the Interim Guidelines for the Public Health Management of Syphilis in Remote Populations in Australia (interim guidelines).

A brief report on the epidemiology of the outbreak up to the end of 2015 has been published on the Communicable Diseases Intelligence, Volume 40 Number 1.