Wake in 2015 set a new record high for syphilis rates and cases, according to the county’s Health Services Department, which recently released its annual report on communicable diseases. 2015 was the last year available.
Wake documented 245 cases of syphilis then, just one year after recording a high of 178 cases in 2014. Rates of syphilis and other STDs are on the rise nationwide. Experts say it’s partially because of a rise in Internet dating and heroin use, said Sue Lynn Ledford, director of Wake’s public health department.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can initially cause sores, then pose life-threatening problems if left untreated. In 2015, Wake had 24 cases for every 100,000 people, up from a rate of 7.5 in 2011 and 8.5 in 2012.
The number of recorded gonorrhea cases rose to 1,360 in 2015 from 1,265 in 2014. Despite the increase in cases, the gonorrhea rate of 132 cases for every 100,000 remained lower than the rate of 140 in 2012.
Documented chlamydia cases also rose to 4,966 in 2015, up from 4,566 in 2014. While Wake’s number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases have remained high in recent years, the rates per 100,000 people are significantly lower than other North Carolina counties. Wake’s chlamydia rate was 484 per 100,000. The statewide rate was 577.
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BY PAUL A. SPECHT
Alianza Latina Pro-Educación en Salud
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