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Syphilis still an outbreak in St. Louis

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Health officials say they're still concerned with the high number of cases of syphilis in the St. Louis area.

Officials have confirmed 21 syphilis cases in the region this year and are looking into 21 more possible cases.

Melissa Van Dyne with the Missouri Health Department says that's a huge number for St. Louis.

"A lot of people don't realize syphilis is still around, and it is. And it can cause lifelong permanent damage," Van Dyne said. "We're talking about eye loss and hearing loss and other neuro-complications down the road."

Groups are trying to get the word out, especially in the gay community.

Van Dyne says most of the infected are men who have had risky, unprotected or anonymous sex with other men.

The state is also keeping an eye on a spike in syphilis cases in the Springfield, Missouri, and Kansas City areas.

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