Washoe County seeks spike in syphilis cases

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Washoe County Health District is warning about a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the Reno-Sparks area.

District spokeswoman Jennifer Howell says the number of cases of syphilis that reached the primary or secondary stage doubled in each of the past two years — from eight in 2011, to 16 in 2012 and 32 last year.

A total of only eight of those kinds of cases were reported in the three previous years combined.

The primary and secondary stages are considered contagious.

The total number of cases — including later stages that are not contagious — has gone from 23 in 2011 to 78 in 2013.

Howell says most of the increase involves Reno's homeless community as well as men who have sex with men without a condom.

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