U.S. CDC has launched a new campaign - Syphilis Strikes Back - to raise awareness about recent increases in the number and rate of syphilis cases. In 2015, the United States experienced the highest number and rate of reported primary and secondary syphilis cases in more than 20 years.
Forty-nine cases of primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis were reported to Maine CDC in 2015, which represents a significant increase over the five-year median of 19 cases.
In 2015, the statewide syphilis rate was 3.7 per 100,000. Rates were highest in Somerset and Cumberland counties, with rates of 11.7 per 100,000 and 9 per 100,000 respectively.
Of the reported cases, 61 percent were diagnosed in southern Maine (26 cases in Cumberland County, four cases in York County) and 22 percent of cases were diagnosed in central Maine (Kennebec and Somerset counties).
Most of the cases (76 percent) were among 25 – 54-year-olds. Since 2011, the proportion of syphilis cases in people age 40 and older has been increasing steadily from 30 percent in 2011 to 47 percent in 2015.
The majority of syphilis cases identified as male (41 cases or 82 percent). The number of early syphilis cases among females rose from one reported case in 2011 to nine reported cases in 2015.
The predominant mode of transmission associated with reported syphilis cases was male-to-male sexual contact (32 cases or 65 percent).
There were 48 cases of syphilis reported to Maine CDC in 2016, but analyses of the 2016 data are not yet complete.For more information about syphilis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/2017syphilis.htm