Report: Syphilis Cases on the Rise in Indiana

The Dearborn Co. Health Department reminds citizens testing and resources are available for free.

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(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Over the past 10 to 15 years, syphilis cases have been on the rise throughout the United States, and the State of Indiana.

There were 207,255 total cases nationwide in 2022, with about a 10 percent increase in the rates per 100,000 seen each year for the past three or four years.

Locally, there have been four or five cases of syphilis diagnosed in Dearborn County in 2022 and 2023, with three cases in the county so far this year, according to the State of Indiana Syphilis Dashboard Health, and Dearborn County Health Department.

The sexually transmitted infectious disease spreads through direct contact with open sores. These sores can be found in the mouth and private areas and can be hard to see.

Initially syphilis will present with a single sore, or multiple sores, located where syphilis entered the body. Other symptoms may include fever, weight loss, hair loss, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches.

The Dearborn County Health Department encourages individuals who think they may have syphilis to know their status. Regular testing is recommended every three to six months and is available for free at the Dearborn County Health Department on Mary Street in Lawrenceburg.

Other helpful tips include practicing safe sex. Condoms used the right way will help prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Infections are treatable. However, if left untreated, you can spread to others.

Along with an increase in syphilis, there have been many cases of congenital syphilis reported. Congenital syphilis occurs when newborns are born infected with syphilis, which they receive from their mothers during pregnancy. In 2018 in the State of Indiana there were two reported cases of congenital syphilis. This increased to 48 cases during 2024 (2300% increase).

Getting treated if pregnant and positive prevents you from passing it on to your unborn child. Furthermore, untreated mothers are susceptible to miscarriage and stillbirths. Babies with syphilis can be born with severe health issues, especially if no treatment is provided.

The Dearborn County Health Department offers free help at (812) 537-8844. 

Please refer to the following link for more information from the Indiana Department of Health. https://www.in.gov/health/audiences/clinicians/clinical-guidelines-and-references/congenital-syphilis-clinician-toolkit

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