Japanese health officials reported an additional 919 syphilis cases since our last report about one month ago.
As of September 29, the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) reported 5,248 total syphilis cases since the beginning of the year.
This is the fifth year in a row that Japan has seen more than 5000 cases. Prior to 2017, it was approximately four decades since the last time that many cases were reported.
To date, 1691 syphilis cases have been reported in Tokyo, the most in the nation, followed by Osaka (558), Aichi (268) and Fukouka (227).
Syphilis was a major issue in Japan until shortly after the end of World War II, but the total reported cases declined to several hundred annually until 2011, when a rebound began.
Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms of syphilis in adults include a painless sore that will go away without treatment followed by a non-itchy body rash. If left untreated syphilis can lead to damage through the body including neurological and cardiovascular complications. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy and for the newborn.