More testing recommended as syphilis cases surge

Credit: Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As the number of syphilis cases in the U.S. continues to grow, it is now recommended that more people get screened for the disease.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its recommendation Tuesday in the Journal of American Medicine.

The USPSTF now recommends more screening for syphilis in people who are at increased risk for infection.

Men who have sex with other men and men and women living with HIV are considered to be most at risk for syphilis, according to the USPSTF. Other risk factors include incarceration, a history of sex work, ethnic background, and being a male under 29-years-old.

Men aged 20 to 29 years had the highest prevalence rate, nearly 3 times higher than that in the average US male population, the USPSTF said.

In September of 2015, Columbus Public Health reported that Franklin County is in the midst of a syphilis outbreak.

What to watch for

Symptoms of early syphilis are often missed or misdiagnosed and can include:

  • Cutaneous lesion(s) – often painless ulcers, on genitals, anus/rectum or in/around the mout
  • Maculopapular rash – genital, body, palms of the hands/ soles of feet, scalp, face
  • Condylomata lata – raised and moist wart-like lesions in groin and perianal area, swollen lymph glands and fever
  • Meningitis, cranial neuropathies, uveitis/optic neuritis, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus

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