More testing recommended as syphilis cases surge

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As the number of syphilis cases in the U.S. continues to grow, it is now recommended that more people get screened for the disease.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its recommendation Tuesday in the Journal of American Medicine.

The USPSTF now recommends more screening for syphilis in people who are at increased risk for infection.

Men who have sex with other men and men and women living with HIV are considered to be most at risk for syphilis, according to the USPSTF. Other risk factors include incarceration, a history of sex work, ethnic background, and being a male under 29-years-old.

Men aged 20 to 29 years had the highest prevalence rate, nearly 3 times higher than that in the average US male population, the USPSTF said.

In September of 2015, Columbus Public Health reported that Franklin County is in the midst of a syphilis outbreak.

What to watch for

Symptoms of early syphilis are often missed or misdiagnosed and can include:

  • Cutaneous lesion(s) – often painless ulcers, on genitals, anus/rectum or in/around the mout
  • Maculopapular rash – genital, body, palms of the hands/ soles of feet, scalp, face
  • Condylomata lata – raised and moist wart-like lesions in groin and perianal area, swollen lymph glands and fever
  • Meningitis, cranial neuropathies, uveitis/optic neuritis, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus

This story was originally published by News 4 sister station WCMH, a Media General Contributing station. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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