Syphilis spreads nationwide at record pace

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An official tests a sample for syphilis and HIV at a health center in Hiroshima in May.

Syphilis is spreading at a record pace nationwide as more than 5,000 cases of the sexually transmitted disease have been diagnosed in the first half of this year, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The number of cases is expected to jump to at least 10,000 this year and surpass last year’s figure of 7,983, the record high under the current survey method, which was adopted in 1999.

According to preliminary figures the institute releases weekly, the number of syphilis cases reported as of July 3 totaled 5,615, compared with 3,429 over the same period last year.