Syphilis Is Illinois’ most-Googled health condition

The U.S. had more than 2 million reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in 2016.
Google campus

(Illinois News Network) – We’ve all researched medical conditions online, but a new analysis shows syphilis is the most Googled medical condition in Illinois this year.

The analysis from Medicare Health Plans shows the most searched ailment for each state. Illinois’ top search was for syphilis. Nationwide, the top searches were for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, syphilis and AIDS/HIV. The searches don’t necessarily indicate prevalence, the analysis notes, but it can shed some light on what people are concerned about.

Dr. Terry Mason with the Cook County Department of Public said syphilis is not the most common sexually transmitted disease.

“You’re much more likely to get – 55 times more likely – to get chlamydia than you are anything else and 15 times more likely to get gonorrhea than syphilis,” he said.

Still, Mason said the number of syphilis cases in Chicago is higher than the national average.

“According to the CDC, Cook County including the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County ranks with the second highest among cities and counties in the United States,” Mason said. “In Chicago, it’s about 30 people per 100,000 and in the United States it’s about 8.7. Cook County pretty much falls in line with the rest of the nation, but Chicago has much, much higher rates.”

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in Illinois followed by gonorrhea, according to the CDC. But the agency noted there’s been a 21 percent increase in syphilis cases since 2015. Gonorrhea cases also jumped sharply.

The U.S. had more than 2 million reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in 2016. Mason said the high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among 15- to 24-year-olds are especially concerning.

Mason recommended getting tested for STDs since most do not have symptoms. He also said chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can all be treated with the right doses of antibiotics. He also recommended using condoms to reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.