Local health officials are warning of a potentially serious health issue in Oneida County -- a significant increase in syphilis cases.

The Oneida County Health Department is reporting a 200 percent increase in early syphilis cases in 2018.

There have been 15 new cases this year and three of the cases have been among women.  In 2017, the county had no new syphilis cases among women.

Wil Murtaugh, the Executive Director of ACR Health, says education and prevention are the keys to stopping the spread of the disease

ACR Health in Utica offers free testing for syphilis, along with HIV, Hepatitis C and Gonorrhea.  You can call (800) 475-2430 to schedule a test.

The County Health Department is advising all medical providers to screen for syphilis.

According to the CDC, there has been a sharp increase in the number of babies born with syphilis in the United States.