The Southern Nevada Health District continues to track cases of syphilis. In 2017, Nevada ranked first in rates of primary and secondary syphilis, and second in the nation for rates of congenital syphilis. Clark County’s rates are highest in the state. The rate of syphilis is higher in men, however, there has been a significant increase in cases among pregnant women. In Clark County, cases of congenital syphilis increased to 24 reported in 2018 from 20 in 2017, and 9 in 2016.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017 the number of congenital syphilis cases reached its highest level since 1997.
As part of its efforts to combat the increase in syphilis, the Health District is urging health care providers, especially those who treat young men or pregnant women 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 CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Syphilis webpage.
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.
Updated on: April 16, 2019