Health officials warn of syphilis jump in King County

The Associated PressMarch 18, 2011 

SEATTLE - Health officials are warning of a big jump in syphilis cases in Seattle and King County.

Some 283 cases of the sexually transmitted disease were reported in the county last year. That's a 30-year-high and an 82 percent jump from 2009.

Syphilis was all but eradicated in King County in the early 1990s. Public Health-Seattle and King County official say they don't fully understand why it's made such a comeback.

Gay and bisexual men have the highest rates of the disease, and 90 percent of the cases reported last year involved men who have sex with men. Health officials are urging gay men to practice safe sex.

Syphilis poses risks that include vision loss. Six patients diagnosed last year suffered some vision loss, but most responded well to treatment.

The infection can be cured with antibiotics.

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