Outbreak in the age of syphilis elimination: Houston's 2012 syphilis outbreak and response
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 9:14 a.m. - 9:32 a.m.
Houston/Harris County exhibits the highest number of syphilis cases compared to any county in Texas and has been ranked in the top 10 nationwide for the past 9 years. In a recent syphilis outbreak, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) examined surveillance data for trends of primary and secondary syphilis (P&S) cases by subpopulation. In 2012, the overall P&S syphilis rate was slightly higher than Houston's 2007 outbreak (11.24 per 100,000 persons in 2012 and 11.20 per 100,000 in 2007) with 83.2% of these cases occurring in males. This increase follows a four-year decline in P&S syphilis rates. The last time this rate was exceeded was in 1995 before implementation of the National Plan to Eliminate Syphilis. In comparison to 2011, there was an 84.8% case increase in 2012. The greatest increases in cases were among those 45 years or older, while there was a 15.9% decrease in cases among those 15-19 years of age. Deviating from the established trend in Houston, large increases in cases have been among the white and Hispanic populations (137.1% and 126.3% respectively). In regard to HIV co-morbidity, it was found that 39.0% (n=185) of all interviewed P&S syphilis cases were HIV positive in comparison to 31.2% in the previous year. Additionally, 58.1% (n=172) of all interviewed P&S syphilis cases among MSM were HIV positive, a 136% increase in co-morbid cases from the previous year. After assessment of these trends, the HDHHS initiated a multi-faceted outbreak response plan to strategically target prevention and control efforts.
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Evaluate the recent trends of the 2012 syphilis outbreak in Houston/Harris County by subpopulation
Compare HIV and syphilis co-morbidity in Houston/Harris County in 2011 and 2012
Describe the surveillance component of the syphilis outbreak response plan implemented by Houston/Harris County
Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Surveillance
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I analyze STD surveillance data for the City of Houston
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.