By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Alaska state health officials report the syphilis outbreak, that was declared in 2018, more than doubled in magnitude from 2018 to 2019.


State epidemiologists say 242 cases of syphilis were reported in 2019, a 112% increase over 2018 when 114 cases were recorded. No congenital syphilis cases were reported.

Two thirds of the primary and secondary syphilis cases were reported in men, nearly evenly split between men who have sex with men (MSM) (44%) and men who have sex with women (MSW).

On third of cases were diagnosed with at least one other STD or had known HIV infection. Nine cases had symptoms consistent with ocular, otic, or neurologic involvement.

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Many factors contribute to syphilis transmission. The following factors were identified among the 222 patients interviewed: 79 (33%) reported either methamphetamine and/or heroin use; 67 (28%) had a history of incarceration within 12 months prior to the interview; and 58 (24%) were experiencing homelessness.