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WHY THE INCREASING INCIDENCE OF SYPHILIS?

JAMA. 1963;183(13):1104-1105. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700130072015.
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Elsewhere in this issue (p 1094) a communication by Kampmeier on the role of the private physician in control of syphilis raises some disturbing questions:

Why, in 1963, has there been a sudden reawakening of interest in a disease which had seemed more or less forgotten? What is the urgency that surrounds syphilis and its control?

The answers are summarized in the foreword of a report1 made just over a year ago by the Task Force of Citizens appointed by Surgeon-General Luther Terry to consider the eradication of syphilis. The problems facing the nation's health in the area of venereal diseases are sketched dramatically: (1) In fiscal year 1961, there were 18,781 persons in the US reported as having infectious syphilis; this is the highest incidence since, and equal to that of, 1951. (2) Since 1959, each year has shown a 50% increase in incidence over the previous year. (3)

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