KAILUA-KONA (AP) - Hawaii health officials are warning the public about a possible outbreak of a sexually transmitted disease on the Big Island.
The state Department of Health is investigating five cases of syphilis reported over the past five months, primarily on the Big Island.
The health department said Wednesday that while most of the cases were reported in men who have sex with men in West Hawaii, cases related to the outbreak may develop on the other islands.
The disease is passed during unprotected sex. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that annually about 55,000 people in the United States get new syphilis infections. Untreated syphilis infections can cause long-term complications or death.
A medical advisory has been sent to physicians statewide about the possible syphilis outbreak.