Central District Health has declared an outbreak of syphilis in Public Health District 4.
The number of reported cases of syphilis increased in 2022 and continues to grow in 2023. In 2018, CDH identified 52 syphilis infections in Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties, while CDH reports 168 cases of syphilis infections since January 1, 2022 in persons aged 15 to 87.
“The rapid increase in syphilis infections highlights the need for heightened awareness of the potential for syphilis transmission among all ages and populations,” said Jessica McClenahan, CDH staff epidemiologist. “Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can have serious health consequences if left undetected and untreated.”
Symptoms of syphilis can include sores, rash, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Some people with syphilis
experience no symptoms. If left untreated, syphilis can cause vision or hearing loss as well as other
In addition, pregnant individuals should consider the risk of congenital syphilis, which occurs when a
pregnant person with syphilis passes the infection to the unborn baby. Congenital syphilis can result in
stillbirth, early infant death or long-term health problems for the child. All pregnant individuals should
be screened for syphilis at their first prenatal appointment and potentially again before delivery to
ensure there is no risk of congenital syphilis.
Safer sexual practices, along with regular testing for STIs and rapid treatment for infection, are an
important part of maintaining overall health and well-being.
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