Syphilis infections in Japan top 6,000 for first time since 1970
Japan Times -- Nov 30
Cases of syphilis infections this year totaled 6,096 as of Nov. 18, exceeding an annual amount of 6,000 for the first time since 1970, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Wednesday.

The number of syphilis patients stood at 1,548 in Tokyo, the highest among the country's 47 prefectures, followed by 1,043 in Osaka, 399 in Aichi, 314 in Kanagawa and 272 in Fukuoka.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government in April started providing more free syphilis testing to contain the disease, which is curable at an early stage but has serious consequences if left untreated.

To prevent further spread of the disease ahead of the 2020 Games, the metropolitan government has earmarked funds in its fiscal 2018 budget to conduct more free anonymous tests and train doctors who have limited experience in treating syphilis.

Syphilis is caused by bacteria called treponema. In the primary stage, the disease manifests as minor sores or ulcers in affected areas, such as around the genitals and lips, and can be cured by anti-bacterial drugs. But if left untreated, the infection can eventually cause inflammation throughout the body, as well as brain and heart complications.

News source: Japan Times
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