Syphilis cases on the rise in Northwest Ohio

Toledo Lucas County Health Department
Toledo Lucas County Health Department(WTVG)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 12:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 3:41 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is reporting a serious rise in the number of syphilis cases in Northwest Ohio for 2021.

So far this year, there have been 91 reported cases, compared to 92 for all of 2020 and 82 for 2019. Of those cases this year, 79% have been identified within Lucas County. The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department provides syphilis case management services for eight counties within the Northwest Ohio region

“Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease and is treatable with antibiotics, if detected,” Health Commissioner Dr. Eric Zgodzinski said. “Syphilis may not cause symptoms initially, but will result in very serious illness if left undiagnosed and untreated.”

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease, spread through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Close skin-to-skin contact, even with a condom, may still result in syphilis since the condom may not fully cover exposed areas. It can also be spread through kissing if there are syphilis sores in the mouth or on the lips.

A pregnant woman with syphilis can spread it to her unborn baby, which can cause serious health problems and even death of the baby.

Signs of syphilis can include a painless sore or ulcer in the mouth or genital areas, and generalized illness with fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and rash. More serious signs of syphilis can include meningitis or eye infections.

TLCHD offers testing by appointment through the Reproductive Health and Wellness Clinic at 419-213-2013 or by visiting:

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