Facebook gives you Syphilis

Cases of Syphilis have risen dramatically in areas where Facebook is most popular and it didn't take long before someone came up with a correlation.

That man is Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health in Teesside, who said his staff had detected a link between social networking sites and the rise in clap cases, especially among young women in the north east.

"Syphilis is a devastating disease," said Kelly. "Anyone who has unprotected sex with casual partners is at high risk."

It is well known that women in the north east are afflicted with a condition commonly known as yo-yo knicker syndrome. But now social notwanking sites are making the liaisons easier to arrange.

"Back of the bike sheds in half an hour," is easily within 140 Twitter characters. It has the added bonus that you never know how many might turn up.

As a direct result, according to Kelly, the syphillis virus has increased by a factor of four in Sunderland, Durham and Teesside. Young people in those toons were found to be using social networking sites 15 per cent more than sexually active kids in the rest of Britain.

"I don't get the names of people affected," Professor Kelly complained, "just figures, and I saw that several of the people had met sexual partners through these sites."

In a statement, NHS Tees warned people about the dangers of syphilis "following a rise in cases of the devastating disease."

Kelly added: "There is a possibility that there is a pool of people who have been infected and that these cases are linked. We don't know where the outbreak originated but it is on the rise."

Facebook urges users to "take precautions" when meeting spotty-knobbed folk online.