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U.S. News

Ohio: Lucas County Confronts Rise in Syphilis Cases

March 9, 2009

Syphilis cases have been increasing in Lucas County since 2007, a trend that health officials say they have seen across Ohio. The county has reported 15 syphilis cases so far this year, most of them early cases. In 2008, the county reported 35 cases, including 26 detected within a year of transmission, according to the state Department of Health.

"This is a significant rise in the numbers," said Dr. David Grossman, Toledo-Lucas County health commissioner. "We don't know why yet. We're still looking at the numbers."

Ohio syphilis cases began increasing in Columbus and Cleveland in late 2007 and surged in early 2008, said George Nowels, syphilis elimination project coordinator with the Ohio Department of Health. In both cities, most patients were men who have sex with men, African-American heterosexuals, or youths, said Paulette McClure, HIV prevention program manager at the state Department of Health.

Locally, patients are not as easily grouped by sexual orientation, said Art Matten, disease intervention specialist for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. While most patients have been men, some are female, and though most are ages 25-45, some teens have been infected.

"The entire state is concerned at this point," said Matten. "We're trying our best to increase the information."

Back to other news for March 2009

Adapted from:
The Blade (Toledo)
03.08.2009; Julie M. McKinnon

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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 Statistics on Syphilis in Midwestern U.S. States