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An Explosive Return of the 'Great Pox'

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Science  27 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6067, pp. 390
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6067.390

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As breakneck economic development ushered in widespread migration, rising inequality, and evolving sexual mores, syphilis transmission spiked in China. It now holds the dubious title of the nation with the largest increase in reported cases in the penicillin era. For half a century, the antibiotic has been the main defense against Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes the disease. In response, China's health ministry has just embarked on a 10-year plan to combat what the vice director of the National Center for STD Control calls "a scourge lurking in the shadows."