BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-The number of syphilis cases in Southwest Idaho is on the rise prompting public health officials to declare an outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease.  Central District Health and Southwest District Health both reported increases in syphilis cases within their coverage area that includes the combined area of Ada, Boise, Elmore, Valley, Adams, Canyon, Gem, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington counties.

STI Syphilis on the Rise in Southwest Idaho Since 2022

According to the Central District Health, there had been 52 syphilis infections in 2018. In January 2022, there was a reported 168 cases of syphilis in the three county region of Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. Those infected range in the age from 15 to 87. According to the Southwest District Health, cases jumped five fold in 2021 with reported cases in 2022 at 64.

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

  • sores
  • rash
  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • some show now symptoms
  • can cause vision or hearing loss
  • cause neurological complications
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Pregnant Woman should take extra precaution with Syphilis

Southwest District health says pregnant people should consider the risk of congenital syphilis, which means if the adult can pass it on to the unborn baby. The risk is stillbirth, early infant death or long-term health issues for the child. The health district recommends regular screenings.

Syphilis is treatable when caught early

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash
Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Central District Health said when detected early syphilis can be treated. Also, safer sex practices such as regular testing, using condoms, and limited number of sexual partners can help prevent infections. For more resources go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash
Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

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