Syphilis cases in Minnesota rise sharply in 2021 – InForum
ST. PAUL — Syphilis cases rose sharply in Minnesota in 2021, mirroring a worrying national trend of rapidly increasing case counts, according to an annual report released by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The situation is prompting a renewed call from health officials for regular testing and prompt treatment to mitigate rising case numbers, especially in outbreak areas such as Duluth and counties such as Cass and Beltrami. , which have seen a sustained increase in syphilis cases.
Statewide 2020 data showed a drop in some sexually transmitted disease rates in 2020, but the 2021 numbers show an overall increase in STD cases year over year.
“It may take time to assess and understand how COVID-19-related disruptions in health care access or health care-seeking behaviors may have impacted and changed screening rates for STDs and HIV, compared to the pre-COVID-19 era,” said Christine Jones, head of the STD, HIV and TB section of the Minnesota Department of Health.
“What we do know is that syphilis rates are troubling, especially the rise in congenital syphilis, or when a pregnant person passes syphilis on to an infant,” Jones said.
In 2021, congenital syphilis cases in Minnesota increased 115% to 15 cases.
“CS can cause low birth weight, harm or death to an infant if left untreated. It’s preventable when caught early,” Jones said, adding that medical professionals encourage people to get tested regularly for STDs, especially if they’re pregnant.
The overall number of STDs remained at near historic levels in 2021, with 33,706 STD cases reported in Minnesota. This compares to 33,245 cases in 2020 – an increase of 1%.
Chlamydia remained the top reported STD in the state, with 22,578 cases reported, a 3% increase from 2020.
Most cases have occurred in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.
Gonorrhea remained the second most reported STD in Minnesota, with 9,671 cases reported in 2021, a 5% decrease from the previous year.
When it comes to chlamydia and gonorrhea, several counties in the region were mixed when it came to the trend in case numbers between 2020 and 2021:
- Becker County had 106 chlamydia cases and 35 gonorrhea cases in 2021, compared to 115 chlamydia cases and 37 gonorrhea cases reported in 2020.
- Clay County recorded 306 chlamydia cases and 170 gonorrhea cases in 2021, reflecting increases from the 270 chlamydia cases and 115 gonorrhea cases seen in 2020.
- Mahnomen County recorded 21 chlamydia cases and 10 gonorrhea cases in 2021, compared to 22 chlamydia cases and 10 gonorrhea cases in 2020.
- Norman County had 14 chlamydia cases and 3 gonorrhea cases in 2021, down from 16 chlamydia cases and 6 gonorrhea cases in 2020.
- Otter Tail County had 125 chlamydia cases and 36 gonorrhea cases in 2021, a sharp increase from 98 chlamydia cases and 26 gonorrhea cases in 2020.
- Wilkin County had 13 chlamydia cases and 3 gonorrhea cases in 2021, similar to 12 chlamydia cases and 5 gonorrhea cases in 2020.
In Minnesota, the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections reported to the Department of Health increased 8% in 2021, with 298 cases reported last year compared to 275 in 2019.
About 65% of new HIV cases were in communities of color.
The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota is 9,697.