Los Angeles County Outlier in Nationwide Syphilis Trends
Los Angeles County was "[a]t the top of the list" for new syphilis cases in 2004, and some nationwide trends in new cases were not evident in the county, the Los Angeles Times reports. Overall, more than 50% of new syphilis cases were reported in 20 counties in urban areas on the East and West coasts, according to Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and Tuberculosis Prevention.
CDC on Monday said that the number of syphilis cases in the U.S. decreased among infants, women and blacks between 1999 and 2004. However, the overall number of cases in that time has risen because of increasing cases among men who have sex with men, CDC said.
About 64% of new syphilis cases in 2004 occurred among MSM compared with 5% in 1999. Overall syphilis incidence increased from 2.4 cases per 100,000 people in 1999 to 2.7 per 100,000 people in 2004.
In addition, syphilis incidence decreased from:
- 14.3 to nine per 100,000 among blacks;
- 14.5 to 8.8 per 100,000 among newborns; and
- Two to 0.8 per 100,000 among women.
However, Jonathan Fielding, public health director for Los Angeles County, said that syphilis incidence among blacks in Los Angeles County had not decreased, and the Times reports that Fielding "isn't sure why" (Chong, Los Angeles Times, 5/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.