Durham ranks second highest among new syphilis cases in state

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Durham ranked second in new syphilis cases in NC
On average, the Bull City tops the list when it comes to new cases of syphilis in North Carolina.

DURHAM (WTVD) -- On average, the Bull City tops the list when it comes to new cases of syphilis in North Carolina.

The Durham health department is working with community organizations to bring awareness to syphilis and testing people who are most at risk.

According to the State Department of Health and Human Services, several Triangle-area counties top the list; Wake County rounds out the top 10.

Although a closer look at the numbers shows a slow decline in new cases in Durham County and Cumberland County, Wake County's numbers are slowly increasing.

Health officials said it's too early to determine what's behind the fluctuation.

RELATED: Online dating sites to blame for rise in syphilis cases in Wake County?

They warn that new syphilis cases are trending nationwide

"Those who are most at risk are predominately those who are sexually active between the ages 24 to 29," said Infectious Disease Physician, Dr. Arlene Seña. "So, most of those are at risk are men and among men who are at risk in that age group are mostly men who have sex with men."

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Seña said men of color are over-represented in that category.

Experts said symptoms of syphilis include: Sores, skin rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Proper condom use and knowing your status are critical in prevention.

Syphilis is curable but if left untreated, it can lead to other health issues or even death.

The Center for Disease Control just awarded Durham a grant to research and target the groups who are most at risk.

On Monday, Durham County Health will host a brainstorming session with other health leaders in the Triangle to find new ways to tackle the issue.

For those who'd like to get tested, testing sites are available in Durham County, Wake County, and Cumberland County.