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U.S. News

Mississippi: Syphilis Remains Problem in State

April 2, 2009

Since taking over as state health officer in 2007, Dr. Ed Thompson has made tackling public health concerns like syphilis, TB, infant mortality, and obesity a priority. Thompson hired additional nurses and disease intervention specialists, and morale at the Mississippi Department of Health has reportedly improved.

Many of the department's efforts have been successful. The number of TB cases dropped from 138 in 2007 to 118 last year. And infant mortality, a lingering problem in the state, is on the decline. In 2006, there were 10.5 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. In 2007, the latest year with data available, that figure was 10.1 per 1,000.

However, syphilis remains a stubborn problem. "We have to keep struggling with that," said Thompson. "At least we're not in the top 10 anymore."

Though cases of the STD had been waning, the total so far this year is nearly double that of the same period last year -- 92, compared to 50. Thompson said neighboring states like Tennessee have also recorded increases.

To combat Mississippi's recent rise in syphilis, Thompson said the health department is sending outreach teams into hard-hit areas. The teams are "going door-to-door," raising awareness and educating residents about syphilis prevention, symptoms, and treatment, he said.

Back to other news for April 2009

Adapted from:
Clarion Ledger (Jackson)
03.23.2009; Jerry Mitchell

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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 Southern U.S. States