What do I need to know before I travel?
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Outbreak of syphilis in Ireland

13 Jul 2021

Public health officials in Ireland have declared a national outbreak of syphilis. Most recorded cases have been in men, but there is also an increase in cases among women.

The situation is ongoing and data for 2021 are incomplete, but 242 cases were reported between 01 January and 30 April 2021. The majority (79%) of cases have been seen in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, with smaller numbers in Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is treatable with antibiotics, but if left untreated can cause serious health problems.

Advice to Travellers

The best way to prevent STIs is to have safer sex:

  • for detailed information, see The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) Guide to Safer Sex 

Take condoms with you when you travel, even if you aren’t planning to have sex:

  • excess alcohol and recreational drugs can increase your likelihood of having unprotected sex

If you have had a new sexual partner whilst travelling, you should get a sexual health screen when you return home. Your local sexual health clinic can be located on the following websites:

See the fitfortravel Sexual Health Risks page for additional information.