Japanese health officials recorded 128 additional syphilis cases the week ending October 23, pushing the case total for the year over the 6,000 mark with two months left to go in the year.
According to the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, 6,031 total syphilis cases have been reported to date. Of this total, 1891, or 31 percent of the cases were reported in Tokyo.
In 2017, Japan saw 5,534 syphilis cases, the first time that happened in more than 4 decades.
This was followed by two consecutive years with more than 6,000 cases–Prior to 2018, the last time Japan saw more than 6,000 syphilis cases was 48 years ago.
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.
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