Alaska sees worst syphilis outbreak in 40 years

Alaska is experiencing the state's largest syphilis outbreak in 40 years and seeks help from the CDC, according to KTVA.

Here are four things to know:

1. Alaskan health officials first reported the outbreak in March 2018. Epidemiologists received 75 reports of syphilis infection throughout the state, as of Oct. 22.

2. Susan Jones, HIV/STD program manager at the Alaska Division of Public Health, told KTVA this figure is the highest number of syphilis cases reported to the state since potentially the 1970s.

3. Anchorage, Ala., has reported the most cases with64 infections. Eighty-eight percent of all cases in the state occurred among men. Nine of the 75 reported cases involved women. Two women were pregnant when they were diagnosed with syphilis. One infant was born in March 2018 with a probable case of congenital syphilis.

"It's easy to acquire syphilis by having sex with somebody with infection, it's easy to have the disease and not be aware of it, and it's also easy to treat if we catch it early," Ms. Jones told KTVA.

4. State epidemiologist asked the CDC to help with outbreak response efforts. Currently, the agency is gathering information from people at high risk of catching the infection and physicians via two anonymous surveys.  

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