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July 1991

Epidemic Early Syphilis—Escambia County, Florida, 1987 and July 1989—June 1990

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(7):955. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680060023001

In Escambia County, Florida, the average number of early syphilis cases reported per quarter increased from 15 in 1987 to 75 in 1990. To identify potential reasons for this epidemic, the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and CDC used patient interview records to compare characteristics of patients with syphilis diagnosed before and during the epidemic. This report summarizes the characteristics of 82 patients diagnosed and treated from January through December 1987 (the preepidemic period) and 256 patients diagnosed and treated from July 1989 through June 1990 (the epidemic period).

Persons with cases reported during the epidemic were older than persons with cases reported before the epidemic (median age: 29 vs. 25 years, p < 0.05, Kruskal-Wallis test) and less likely to be employed (32% vs. 54%, p < 0.01). In addition, the proportion of patients who were black increased from 79% to 90% (p < 0.05). Although the

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