Syracuse, N.Y. – A sharp spike in syphilis in Onondaga County is being blamed in part on the proliferation of gay dating phone apps that make it easy for men to quickly find sex partners.
The number of cases of the potentially deadly sexually transmitted disease nearly doubled in Onondaga County from 15 cases in 2012 to 29 in 2013. During the same period, the number of cases in New York outside of New York City (a.k.a. upstate) increased from 375 to 490, a 30 percent increase. Syphilis is increasing in both urban and rural areas across the state, according to the state Health Department.
The state and county health departments recently issued alerts to health providers, urging them to be diligent about screening for the disease and treating it.
People often do not notice the initial symptoms or mistakenly think they are minor abrasions or heat rashes that do not need medical attention. “Syphilis is a very sneaky disease,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Onondaga County’s health commissioner. “Untreated, it can be devastating.”
Syphilis is a bacterial infection. The first sign of syphilis is usually a painless sore. It is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore during anal, vaginal or oral sex. …read more