The Southern Nevada Health District has identified a 128 percent increase in reported syphilis cases in Clark County since 2012 and is now considering the increase to be an outbreak for early syphilis cases. The increase is seen mostly among men with 615 of the 694 cases diagnosed in 2015. Early syphilis is an infection that has been acquired within the previous 12 months. As part of its efforts to combat the outbreak the Health District is urging health care providers, especially those who treat young men, to immediately report a syphilis diagnosis to the Health District and begin prompt treatment for patients and their partners. For information, visit the Health District's Sexual Health Clinic webpage or call (702) 759-0702. Additional information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) site: www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis
There are several stages of syphilis. Primary and secondary syphilis will respond to treatment. If untreated, the infection can be transmitted to others. The next stage is latent syphilis, which causes no symptoms and can only be detected with a blood test. If untreated, latent syphilis continues for life and can progress to the final stage, called late (tertiary) syphilis. Although a person with late-stage syphilis is no longer experiencing symptoms of primary and secondary stages, syphilis will begin to impact internal organs and cause neurological problems as well.
Syphilis is easily treated, but without treatment it can cause serious health complications. Knowing your risk for developing syphilis and what you can do to protect yourself is the best way to prevent syphilis.