The Minnesota Department of Health reported today that syphilis cases rose sharply in the state in 2021, bringing them to “concerning levels”.
Syphilis cases saw a 33% increase from 2020 to 2021, to 1,457 cases reported in 2021.
Also very troubling, fifteen cases of congenital syphilis in infants were reported in 2021. This is a 115% increase from 2020 when seven congenital syphilis cases were reported.
In 2021, the “sustained increase” of syphilis, now known as a consistent area of concern, continued in Cass and Beltrami counties, and a syphilis outbreak was declared in the Duluth area, which includes the 30-mile radius around the city. However, syphilis everywhere remains a critical concern. Untreated syphilis can cause blindness, dementia, or even death. New infections continued to be centered within the Twin Cities metropolitan area and among males, particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, the increasing presence of syphilis among females was alarming, especially because of the risk of congenital syphilis in those who are pregnant or of child-bearing age.
The increase in syphilis cases in the state mirrors a disturbing national trend of starkly rising syphilis cases, affecting all communities, health officials said.
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