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Local and Community News

Pittsburgh: Hospitals Alerted to Rise in Syphilis Cases

March 28, 2003

Hospitals and clinics in Pittsburgh have been alerted by state health officials to be on the lookout for syphilis cases following an outbreak in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties. Nine cases of early syphilis were diagnosed between September and March 1, many of them in and around New Kensington.

An alert was also issued last April because Westmoreland County had seen 20 cases of syphilis in a six-month period in a region that had not one case since 1985. State Department of Health spokesperson Richard McGarvey said the outbreak was thought to be under control when no new cases were identified for several months afterward. "We were hoping we had cleared up the cases and stopped the cycle," McGarvey said. "We treated the people we knew about."

But the disease resumed its spread. As before, the cases involved crack cocaine use or prostitution. There have been 39 cases since the outbreak began in October 2001. Health officials are tracing contacts of infected individuals. Allegheny County Health Department spokesperson Guillermo Cole said the county has had 13 cases of syphilis last year and six cases this year.

Back to other CDC news for March 28, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
03.28.03; Anita Srikameswaran

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Syphilis -- a Dreadful Disease on the Move
Syphilis Fact Sheet
Basic Questions and Answers About Syphilis and Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)
More on Syphilis in Mid-Atlantic U.S. States