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N.H. Sees Spike in Cases of Syphilis

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Public health officials are warning about an outbreak of syphilis in New Hampshire, with reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease nearly double that of previous years.

From January through May, there were 42 documented cases in the state, according to new figures released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. In recent years, there has been an average of 20 cases during that same period.

“Syphilis was close to being eliminated in the United States back in 2000, but over the last decade it has been making a resurgence, and unfortunately, New Hampshire is not immune to the impact of increasing STDs,” says State Epidemiologist Benjamin Chan.

DHHS reports that Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties account for more than 60% of this year’s infections, with most cases occurring in men under the age of 40, as well as in men who have sex with men. The bacteria can have long term health consequences, but the disease is also curable with antibiotics.

In recent years, there has also been a surge in chlamydia and gonorrhea in New Hampshire. That, in part, led Senate Democrats to request an additional $400,000 in the next two-year budget to expand STD testing service. That effort was rejected by Senate Republicans, however, during budget negotiations.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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