Venereal diseases have spread to every city in China, and medical experts are calling for more action to fight the worsening problem, an official report said Sunday.

The daily newspaper Health News said the number of VD patients has increased steadily since the late 1970s, when China began opening its doors to foreigners.It said the problem has spread from a few coastal cities, which have more contacts with foreigners, to almost every city in the country.

In southern China's Canton, the number of VD victims, most of whom were under the age of 20, quadrupled in 1987 from the previous year, the paper said.

The report blamed the spread of the diseases to the closing of VD clinics in the early 1960s - when venereal diseases were virtually wiped out - and to the lack of education about the diseases, backward medical equipment and treatment, and lax enforcement of the ban on prostitution.

Laws and regulations should be tightened to ban prostitution, and sufferers should be compelled to get medical treatment, the paper said.