Syphilis In The News

Published: February 12, 2015

Todd Heywood
Original Article:

In 2013, the CDC reported that U.S. cases of syphilis had increased 10 percent. Three quarters of those cases were among men who have sex with men (MSM) — which directly accounted for the significant increase in new cases of the old disease.

In two news items this week, syphilis is making headlines again.

In Columbus, Ohio, the health department has declared the region is fighting an outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease. How many cases have been identified is unclear from City of Columbus Health Department postings, but the agency has taken to social media to increase testing. In December of last year, the agency released several versions of social media messages for the public to use — including suggested Twitter language and social media placards specific to MSM communities and one specific to heterosexual communities.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, health officials are warning about a rare strain of the disease which is leaving those infected blinded. The Seattle Times reports the rare strain has been identified in six people in the region, two of whom have been blinded.

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