Local and Community News
North Carolina: Robeson Syphilis Rate Plunges 53 Percent
February 5, 2003
A 53 percent drop in new syphilis cases means Robeson County, N.C., could be removed from the list of top 10 areas in the nation for the STD, health officials said.Adapted from:
With a syphilis rate of 73 cases per 100,000 people, Robeson led the nation in the disease in 2001, according to an annual report by CDC, and was one of two North Carolina counties listed among the top 10. Guilford County, which includes Greensboro and High Point, ranked sixth in the nation with a 2001 rate of 16.6 cases per 100,000. The national syphilis rate in 2001 was 2.1 cases per 100,000. North Carolina's rate was 5.7 cases per 100,000.
After reporting 144 new syphilis cases in 2001, Robeson County had 67 new cases last year, said Pete Moore, senior public health adviser with the state Department of Health and Human Services. "We are going to continue to fund projects down there," Moore said. "Now is not the time you want to ease up and focus efforts elsewhere."
The state has worked with the county Health Department to educate residents, screen for the disease, and treat it. Twenty condom distribution centers were set up in high-risk areas. Bill Smith, the county health director, said a small number of recurring cases are popping up. "There are some cases where the person gets treatment and goes back out and gets reinfected," he said.
Robeson is one of seven counties in the state that is part of a state initiative to eliminate syphilis by 2005. "There are 63 counties in North Carolina that have no syphilis," Smith said. "That is the norm."
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.