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Published On: Thu, Jun 13th, 2013

Hawaii health officials warn of possible syphilis outbreak on Big Island

On June 10, The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) sent a medical advisory to physicians statewide to raise awareness regarding a possible syphilis outbreak on Big Island after five cases of syphilis reported over the past five months on Hawaii, according to a DOH news release June 12.

Darkfield microscopy of Treponema pallidum Credits:   CDC

Darkfield microscopy of Treponema pallidum
Credits: CDC

Health officials say despite most of the cases were reported in men who have sex with men in West Hawaii, cases related to this outbreak may develop on the other islands.

“While we know there are several cases from West Hawaii, there may be people who are infected and unaware of their illness, who have traveled to other islands,” said Luke Hasty, program coordinator for the STD/AID Prevention Branch of the DOH. “A blood test is the most common way to determine if someone has syphilis.”

Syphilis is an STI caused by the bacterium, Treponema pallidum. The most common way to get syphilis is by having sexual contact (oral, genital or anal) with an infected person.

Early signs of syphilis, often a small ulcer or sore on the sex organ, may be overlooked as the ulcer is often painless and may go away on its own. Signs and symptoms of syphilis that develop later on often mimic symptoms due to more common disorders (symptoms such as skin rashes, mouth sores, fever, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue) and are often missed or resolve without treatment.

Syphilis causes significant complications if untreated. Timely antibiotic treatment provides an effective cure of syphilis infection.

The CDC reports syphilis remains a major health problem with increases persisting among men who have sex with men (MSM). Cases among MSM have been characterized by high rates of HIV co-infection and high-risk sexual behaviors.

Members of the public with questions or concerns about possible syphilis infection should contact their healthcare provider, or call DOH at 733-9281 on Oahu, 821-2741 on Kauai, 984-2129 on Maui, or 974-4247 on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says:

    I AM TIRED OF HETEROSEXUALS RIDICULING MALE HOMOSEX. IF HETEROSEXUAL FEMALES [WIVES/GIRLFRIENDS] WOULD START ELIMINATING THESE PSYCHOLOGICALLY-DAMAGED male bisexuals, HETEROSEXUALS WOULD STAY OUT-OF “OUR” BUSINESS.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    • Brandon Jones says:

      How is a Health Agency reporting the facts of an outbreak “ridicule” to you? Your statement is a bit off from the reality of the story

  2. Hawaii health officials warn of possible sodomi... says:

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