Forty-eight syphilis cases were reported in South Dakota in 2013—the most diagnosed in the state in 44 years, reported the Rapid City Journal. The most populous area, Sioux Falls, reported the highest number of cases at 23, and Corson County, home to the Standing Rock Reservation, reported 14. The reservation straddles North and South Dakota.
While the Sioux Falls cases primarily involved men, in Corson County the reported infections affected both men and women, reported The Argus Leader.
Across the United States, about 55,400 people get new syphilis infections annually, the CDC estimates. Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium, can cause long-term complications or death if not properly treated. The disease is curable with antibiotics from a physician, but syphilis can remain latent in the body for years. While treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, it will not repair scars from rashes and leshions already inflicted.