Lane County: Public Health Officials Have Warned of a Syphilis Outbreak

Lane County: Public Health Officials Have Warned of a Syphilis Outbreak | The Lifesciences Magazine

After being at a historic low since the 2010s, Syphilis cases are now reportedly risen again. As reported by some of health officials, after a long decade, the trend of syphilis really took off once again in 2020, in lieu of and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the outbreak in 2020, over the two years, Lane County has now reported 492 new cases of syphilis: with the number being 163 in 2021 and over 300 in 2022.

Between the two years, 2021 and 2022, Lane County has seen about 102% rise in the cases. A 14% rise in the rest of Oregon. Although, on the bright side, there has not been any spike in other STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

One of Lane County’s leading experts, Dr. Lisandra Perez Guzman has said that the health department has been very worried with the numbers that are showing up. She further said that the exact cause of increase in the cases is not known at this time. The health department of Lane County is working with a team of epidemiologists who are looking through the data to find the answer.

Perez Guzman stated, “Well we are going through an epidemic, a syphilis epidemic. The counts of cases have increased dramatically.”

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Who Are at the Risk of Syphilis?

According to the current observations, there are very specific groups who are at a higher risk of catching the syphilis infection. It is mostly observed that the older millennials who are in their 30s are seen to have some of the highest degree of infections. Historically speaking, the male members of the society have been some of the primary victims of syphilis.

The members of the LGBTQ+ community are also seen as at-risk members. One important point to note in the course of this epidemic is that the females are closing the infection gap.

Dr. Lisandra Perez Guzman has said, “As the years have gone by we have seen the gap between male and female have closed. And now we’re having more female, more and more and more. To the point it’s almost 50-50. Almost 50% men, 50% female.”

As there are more females in the mix now, the consequences of being contaminated with syphilis can get passed on to further generations.

Perez Guzman said, “Unfortunately, because of that, we are now seeing more cases of congenital syphilis. So moms… pregnant persons are delivering babies with syphilis.”

The health officials in the county are now reaching out to community organizations to help fight this new trend. And one best ways they have found is by increasing the supply of Bicillin.

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