MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported that the number of new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continued to rise in 2019, according to MDH’s annual STD surveillance report.

Health officials specifically noted a climb in syphilis cases in 2019, with 1,127 cases reported — a 23% increase from 2018.

With syphilis becoming more common, surveillance for the disease has also needed to change. State epidemiologists recently used a new method for outbreak detection that examines an average of syphilis rates over a longer period of time.

“Our improved analysis of syphilis data has shown a more detailed picture of how syphilis is impacting counties across the state,” MDH State Epidemiologist and Medical Director Dr. Ruth Lynfield said. “We are now able to identify hotspots earlier than before and complete a more real-time look into what is going on in these areas.”

With this new method, Minnesota health officials found that cases, particularly in females, pregnant people, and men who have sex with men, have continued to rise across counties. This is similar to what is happening in other states.

“It’s important to let people know that syphilis is still a problem, but that screening and treatment can help avoid serious complications,” Lynfield said.

The Minnesota Department of Health recommends regular syphilis screenings for people who are sexually active and for pregnant females.

MDH’s annual STD surveillance report also noted a 4% increase in chlamydia cases and a 7% increase in gonorrhea cases.

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