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OHA Concerned About Syphilis Epidemic In Oregon

Treponema pallidum, the bacteria that causes syphilis.

Treponema pallidum, the bacteria that causes syphilis.

NIH Image Gallery/Flickr

Oregon is in the midst of a syphilis epidemic according to the Oregon Health Authority. Cases of the disease have increased 2,000 percent over the last decade.

Back in 2007, syphilis had all but been eradicated in Oregon. There were just 26 cases.

Last year, there were close to 570.

Sean Shaffer with the OHA’s Public Health Division said he’s very concerned.

“It is a big problem and in order for us to interrupt it, we really need the help of the healthcare providers to start asking their patients about some pretty direct questions” about their sex lives and their partners he said. “You know, whether they happen to have a history of methamphetamine use. Not for punishment or for stigma, but to make sure they get the appropriate health care.”

Doctors are testing some people multiple times — for example, men who have sex with men, and people who’ve previously contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Oregon ranks eighth in the nation for the prevalence of syphilis.

Oregon Health Authority

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