240 Parsons - 2008

Contact Information Columbus Public Health
240 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 645-7417

Public Health Alert: Syphilis Outbreak Columbus -- 9.1.2015

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Syphilis Outbreak - Columbus

Released September 1, 2015 from Columbus Public Health

What you need to know

Early syphilis cases continue to increase in Franklin County. Infectious early syphilis (ES) cases have increased by 50% comparing January - June of 2014 to January - June of 2015. There have been more than 200 cases reported in the 1st half of 2015.

  • It is anticipated that by the end of 2015, data will reflect a rate increase of more than 83% since 2013.
  • Most cases are being diagnosed in men who have sex with men. 
  • A staggering increase among females has resulted in treatment of several pregnant woman and 8 cases of congenital syphilis during 2014 and 3 cases already in 2015. Congenital syphilis is often severe, disabling, and life-threatening.

What to watch for

Symptoms of ES are often missed or misdiagnosed and can include:

  • Cutaneous lesion(s) - often painless ulcers, on genitals, anus/rectum or in/around the mout
  • Maculopapular rash - genital, body, palms of the hands/ soles of feet, scalp, face
  • Condylomata lata - raised and moist wart-like lesions in groin and perianal area, swollen lymph glands and fever
  • Meningitis, cranial neuropathies, uveitis/optic neuritis, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus

Screening Recommendations

Syphilis Screening Rec Chart

What you can do 

  1. Increase screening: Refer to screening recommendations table. Persons of negative or unknown HIV status should also be screened for HIV.
  2. Report Cases: Syphilis is a Class B (1) reportable condition which is required to be reported by the end of the next business day. Submit reports via the Infectious Disease Reporting System (IDRS) faxed to (614) 525-8890 or call (614) 525-8888
  3. Assist with Access to Treatment: If a patient needs assistance accessing treatment, Columbus Public Health offers treatment on a sliding fee scale and no one is turned away for inability to pay. Medication can be delivered to your practice when needed. 

To learn more

1CDC STD Treatment Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2015 STD Treatment Guidelines along with a quick reference guide phone application can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/default.htm.

If you have any questions or comments, please call the HIV/STD Prevention Program at 645-8539.

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