Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Syphilis cases on the rise in U.S. and Maine

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

News from the districts - Midcoast

The Midcoast Public Health District serves Waldo, Lincoln, Knox, and Sagadahoc counties. The population is as diverse as its geography, which includes farmland, coastal villages, urban centers, and year-round island communities.
The Midcoast District Coordinating Council has developed a District Public Health Improvement Plan (DPHIP) and identified priority areas of focus: lead exposure in one- and two-year-olds, improving youth and adult mental health, and fighting obesity and the impact of chronic disease by increasing public use of existing low or no cost physical activity resources.  Over the last several months, Council members have volunteered innumerable hours developing goals, objectives, and strategies to best address these priorities.

Volunteerism is also a key element as the Midcoast District launches its Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit in collaboration with Maine Responds.  MRC unit members are medical and non-medical volunteers who may be called upon in times of a public health emergency for staffing alternate medical care sites, providing vaccinations, or distributing medications at a Point of Dispensing (POD). We look forward to developing the Midcoast MRC Unit in support of public health emergency preparedness in our District.