A county in the Piedmont-Triad area of North Carolina is number one for syphilis cases, The Winston-Salem Journal reported on June 5.

Forsyth County, whose county seat is Winston-Salem, reported 70 cases of the infection from January 2009 to May 22, 2009. That’s a significant jump from 2008’s 48 reported cases and 2007’s 31.

The 2009 number are preliminary figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services epidemiology division.

Dr. Tim Monroe, director of the Forsyth County Health Department, told The Journal that infection rates usually rise and fall in cycles. According to the daily paper, a national syphilis-elimination projected resulted in a 2002 drop to just one case.

“It’s not necessarily abnormal to see these kinds of cycles,” Monroe said.

County officials have met to discuss ways to curb increased spread of the infection. They will be targeting the most at-risk populations, including prostitutes and gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.