According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, there were more than 5,000 people diagnosed with syphilis in Japan, with the number hitting women in their 20s particularly hard.
In 2016, the number of syphilis cases was 4,518. In 2017, the number of cases was 5,534. This is an increase of more than 1,000 cases from 2016. There is no reason given for the increase.
30 percent of the syphilis cases are in Tokyo, and starting in April, the government will begin testing for the disease to get control over the disease. When in its early stages, the disease can be treated and cured. However, untreated, the disease becomes even more serious.
The government has put preventative funds in its fiscal 2018 budget year to get control over the disease before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This includes anonymous testing or doctor training for the disease.
The treponema bacteria causes syphilis. In its main stage, it can cause minor tumors that appear on the lips and genital areas. Antibacterial drugs can cure the disease. If not treated, the infection will lead to inflammation along with heart and brain complications.
A woman may potentially spread the STD to her unborn baby (during delivery and while pregnant). The disease called congenital syphilis can lead to skin rashes, meningitis and stillbirth.