Alaska’s syphilis outbreak continues; CDC assists with investigation

So far in 2018, 75 cases of infectious syphilis have been reported to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology, including one case of probable congenital syphilis (transmission in utero to a newborn infant). This is the largest outbreak to have occurred in Alaska in at least four decades, and new cases continue to be reported. Epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently traveled to Alaska to assist HIV/STD Program staff in conducting interviews with health providers, patients, and high-risk groups to better understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of syphilis prevention among men who have sex with men and among health care providers.  Findings from the interviews and surveys are already helping to inform ongoing syphilis prevention efforts. Some recommendations suggested by survey respondents include additional education and awareness efforts, free STD testing and condoms, and increased availability of STD testing. Alaska continues to also have high rates of other sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. Visit the DHSS STD website or this Public Health Advisory for more information. To contact the HIV/STD program, call (907) 269-8000 or email hiv-std@alaska.gov.


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