Networks of persons with syphilis and at risk for syphilis in Louisiana: Evidence of core transmitters

Daniel Rosenberg, Kera Moseley, Richard Kahn, Patricia Kissinger, Janet Rice, Carl Kendall, Steven Scott Coughlin, Thomas A. Farley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Differences in sociodemographic attributes and healthcare access may explain differences in regional sexually transmitted disease rates but don't fully explain why syphilis persists disproportionately in certain populations. Goal of this Study: To understand the behavioral epidemiology of syphilis, we conducted a social network analysis of persons with syphilis and their contacts and developed and applied a definition of core transmitters. Study Design: We interviewed 10 index persons with primary or secondary untreated syphilis and 80 of their named sexual and social contacts. Results: Fourteen (16%) of 90 interviewed persons met the definition of core transmitters, 9 of whom had past or current syphilis. The other interviewed persons had only moderately risky behaviors. Seventy-eight (42%) of the network sexual contacts were connected directly or indirectly to a core transmitter. Conclusion: This analysis suggests that syphilis transmission is maintained by a community with a small percentage of high-risk persons centrally placed amidst a larger group with moderately risky behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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