Beware! Kalamazoo Women Being Warned Of Eye Syphilis Outbreak
We have been educated about syphilis and how it's treated.
Have you heard about ocular syphilis?
Well, you need to know because several outbreaks happened in West Michigan.
What Is Eye Syphilis?
Eye Syphilis or Ocular Syphilis is a rare form of syphilis that is most commonly known.
Cleveland Clinic shared that,
"Ocular syphilis is an eye condition that can happen if you have syphilis that isn’t treated. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a bacterial infection. The infection can also spread to the fetus through pregnancy."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that ocular syphilis
"can involve almost any eye structure, but posterior uveitis and panuveitis are the most common."
How Did 5 Women In Kalamazoo Get Eye Syphilis?
Would you believe it if I said that these 5 women got infected by one man?
Well, that is actually what happened.
One infected but asymptomatic man ended up spreading a rare form of syphilis to 5 Michigan women.
In the report by Dr. William Nettleton of the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department in Kalamazoo, the five women's ages ranged from 40 to 60 years old.
- In March, patient “A” reported “blurred vision [and] fear of blindness.”
- In April, patient “B” was admitted to hospital with neurosyphilis, after reporting headache, hearing loss, and “worsening blurry vision and double vision."
- In May, patient “C” tested positive for syphilis and experienced a “a full body rash and peeling skin on her hands,” along with “spots drifting through her field of vision.”
- In June, patient “D” received a diagnosis of ocular syphilis from her ophthalmologist. She also experienced genital sores and a rash on her hands and abdomen.
- In May, patient “E” complained of vision issues and by July was admitted to hospital with ocular syphilis and neurosyphilis.
The U.S. News shared that,
"All of the women had had sexual relations with the same man, often first connecting with him online. When state health workers tracked him down in May 2022, he showed no symptoms of syphilis but “reported having multiple female sex partners during the previous 12 months.”"
Thankfully, the man and the five middle-aged women were all cured and treated with penicillin.
Researchers say that it is possible that this particular strain
"ceased to circulate after these patients and their common partner were treated."
However, it is not known for sure whether it did or not.
According to Nettleton, while other outbreaks have been recorded, the Michigan outbreak
"is the first document...among cases attainable to heterosexual transmission."
You can read the full report here.