Background: According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, STD national surveillance profiles for 2011, Louisiana ranked 1st in the nation for primary and secondary cases with a case rate of 9.9/100,000 population. Louisiana also ranked 3rd in the nation for congenital syphilis cases with a case rate of 27.6 cases/100,000 population. Even more alarming, in a ranking of counties in the United States with the highest number of syphilis cases, Caddo county, the primary county in the city of Shreveport, ranked 1st in the nation with a case rate of 59.2/100,000 population and 2nd in the nation with the number of diagnosed syphilis cases among women.
Methods: To address these high case rates, a strategic plan of action was developed in July 2013. Components include: increasing provider education, community awareness, and mobilization activities; expanding public health clinic access; maximizing opportunities to screen and treat persons infected with syphilis; increasing the availability of bicillin to providers; enhancing surveillance and partner services activities; and re-introducing a third trimester pre-natal syphilis screening bill to the Louisiana Legislature.
Results: A syphilis task force convened, which includes leaders from local community healthcare providers, educational institutions, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health, and the Shreveport Mayor’s Office. A Syphilis Strategic Plan of Action was developed to heighten awareness and work toward a solution for this public health emergency.
Conclusions: Regional healthcare providers have taken an enormous investment in this effort. A “Public Health Syphilis Alert” was distributed to over 250 medical providers and community leaders, an updated education packet is offered during provider visitations, the Mayor’s Office and other public officials have committed their support in these efforts and additional regional staff (i.e. program monitor, nurses) has been hired. Other priority strategies will be initiated to accomplish our goals.