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Syphilis diagnosis incorrect in 75 people

14th March 2012

The Health Protection Agency has said that around 75 people in the UK have been given an "incorrect diagnosis" of syphilis.

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Around 5,000 people every year are diagnosed with syphilis in the UK. 

The HPA said some patients diagnosed between November 2010 and September 2011 were told they had the infection when they did not, and others were told the disease was in the early stages when it was more advanced.

They said the errors occurred because of a commercial testing kit which gave false positive results.

The HPA said clinics would be getting in contact with patients who had been given an incorrect result.

Prof Cathy Ison, director of the Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Reference Laboratory at the HPA, said clinics were being extremely vigilant in contacting patients who had been incorrectly diagnosed.

She added: "With the help of laboratories and sexual health doctors across the country, we have been investigating which patients received an incorrect diagnosis and we are now in the process of working with doctors to ensure that anyone affected is informed of their correct diagnosis and given further treatment if necessary."

"Anyone incorrectly diagnosed with syphilis when they did not have the infection will have been prescribed a limited course of antibiotic treatment. This will not have had any lasting impact on their health."

"We would like to reassure the public that anyone who received an incorrect diagnosis will be contacted by their clinic within the coming weeks."

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