By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

For the second consecutive year, Japanese health officials reported more than 6,000 syphilis cases. According to Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, 6,577 cases were reported in 2019.

Last year, the number of cases were even higher at 6,923. Prior to 2018, the last time Japan saw more than 6,000 syphilis cases was 48 years ago.

The most cases were reported in Tokyo (1688), Osaka (1085), Aichi (362) and Hyogo (286).

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.

In November last year, the news source, Mainichi reported nearly 10% of women who reportedly have syphilis were also pregnant in the first half of 2019, resulting in an increase in congenital syphilis.

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.