Dayton Daily News (01.12.12) - Friday, January 13, 2012
Syphilis cases have increased in recent years along Ohio's I-
75 corridor, with a ripple effect seen from Cincinnati to the
Dayton region. Nearly 40 percent of state syphilis cases in
2010 were reported in Cincinnati.
New syphilis cases began soaring in Cincinnati in 2008 and
remained high through 2010, state data show. In Hamilton
County, which includes Cincinnati, cases grew from just 36 in
2006 to 420 in 2010. Public Health-Dayton and Montgomery
County reported 70 cases last year, compared with 26 in 2010.
Interviews by disease investigators found a rising number of
Montgomery County cases originated in Cincinnati, said Jim
Gross, health commissioner for PHDMC.
"We fear the problem is coming up Interstate 75 and we want to
stop it," Gross said. "We recognize their problem can quickly
become our problem."
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) requested assistance from
CDC, which sent staff to Cincinnati for about six weeks in
2010 and created a set of recommendations, said Jen Keagy, the
state's STD prevention program manager. Data for 2011 show a
10 percent decline in Hamilton County syphilis numbers, said
Rocky Merz, a spokesperson with the Cincinnati Health
Citing low scores on grant applications - scoring that
Cincinnati contests - as well as past poor performance, ODH
recently put PHDMC in charge of administering a $740,000 grant
for the HIV/STD program of Hamilton County. Hamilton County
Public Health will take over local program operations.