George Walton, manager of the Iowa Department of Public Health’s sexually transmitted disease program, says that, although they are still compiling 2012 data, the department is seeing a significant increase in the number of syphilis cases. Walton noted that Polk County saw the most significant increase, with smaller increases demonstrated in Iowa’s other urban areas, such as Black Hawk County. The Polk County Health Department reported a 420-percent increase in syphilis cases in the past year, with 27 cases during 2011 and 112 cases for 2012. Walton says that the majority of the cases involve men who have sex with men. The department expects to release the statewide surveillance report with data specific to the county level by the end of March.