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October 8, 1973

Medical News

JAMA. 1973;226(2):123-133. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230020001001

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Syphilis: Recorded cases on rise, but many patients go unreported  Officially recorded syphilis cases—admittedly just a fraction of the actual total, but regarded as an indicator of the true incidence—increased by 4.2% in the 1973 fiscal year over 1972.That is the word, after the usual reporting lags, from the federal Center for Disease Control near Atlanta. Veneraal Disease Branch statisticians now put at 25,130 the preliminary total of primary and secondary syphilis cases reported in the United States during the 12 months ending last June 30.What is the actual total? It has been estimated variously between 85,000 and 100,000 cases annually. Applying the 4.2% increase to that would suggest a total of between 88,000 and more than 104,000 cases.Addressing the Third International Venereal Disease Symposium in New Orleans, Ralph H. Henderson, MD, chief of the Center for Disease Control's Venereal Disease Branch, said:"At present, the under-reporting of syphilis