The area of the Texas state capital and Travis County has seen an increase in syphilis, in addition to Texas as a whole, according to data published in the Travis County Medical Society Journal.

Image/CDC
Image/CDC

Texas and Travis County continue to experience high rates of syphilis.  In 2013, a total of 1,468 primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis cases were reported in Texas.This is a 36% increase from the 1,081 cases reported in 2006.  The number of P&S syphilis cases has increased even greater in Travis County.  A total of 136 primary and secondary cases were reported in Travis County in 2013 compared with 81 in 2006; a 68% increase.

The incidence rates for Travis County and Texas have been slowly increasing since 2004.  For 2004 through 2013, the incidence rates in Travis County are higher compared with the rate for Texas.  In 2013, for the five most populated counties in Texas, the incidence rate in Travis County (12.1 cases per 100,000 population) is higher compared with Dallas County (10.0), Tarrant County (7.9), and Harris County (7.1) and lower compared with Bexar County (16.6).

In Texas, 88% of P&S syphilis cases are males.  Similarly, in Travis County, over 94% of reported cases are males.

A preliminary review of syphilis data for 2014 conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) indicated a 65% increase in primary/secondary syphilis in 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.  These infections were mostly found in men who have sex with men (MSM), with 46% also having co-infection with HIV.

The results of data analyses by Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Medical Director, Dr. Philip Huang, and staff epidemiologist, Jeff Taylor, on prevalence of syphilis cases in our area were recently published in the January-February 2015 Travis County Medical Society Journal and can be found at http://www.tcms.com/TCMS_Journal/.