Indianapolis Star (09.29.12)
Health officials in Indiana’s Johnson County are alarmed about an outbreak of syphilis cases among young people in the county. Dr. Craig Moorman, Johnson County health officer, stated that of the 25 confirmed or suspected cases of syphilis, most of those infected are in their mid-teens to mid-20s. In recent years, Indiana has seen increases in cases of primary and secondary syphilis, with the number of reported cases increasing from 140 in 2008 to 175 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the cases have occurred in Marion County, where the city of Indianapolis is located. Marion County experienced a three-year syphilis outbreak beginning in 2007, triggering concerns that Indianapolis was at risk of repeating its 1999 case numbers, which led the United States in new syphilis cases. The 1999 outbreak produced a widespread screening and education campaign. Lisa DeVault, the Johnson Country director of nursing, is asking people to contact their doctor immediately if they think they might be infected. She emphasized that the treatment is most effective if administered within the first year of infection; otherwise, there are long term-effects.