What’s the worst thing that can happen when online dating? You could get a sickness so bad, the authorities have to hunt down your Typhoid Mary-date.
Health officials in Michigan had to do just that after they were confronted with an outbreak of an extremely rare type of syphilis. Ocular syphilis is not a new illness but it accounts for less than 1 percent of all syphilis cases. When multiple women started being diagnosed with it, they knew something was up – and the case might make you uninstall any dating app.
The report of the ocular syphilis cluster posted by the CDC details how each woman contracted the illness from a man who knew he carried it.
The first woman, patient A, was referred to the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department (KCHCSD) by an ophthalmologist. She was diagnosed with syphilis and had a single partner in the previous 12 months. When the state health department reached out to the man, they were rebuffed.
Then, a month later, another woman was admitted to a hospital with neurosyphilis and cranial nerve abnormalities. She too indicated she had met the same man online.
Then, in May 2022, yet another month later, another woman came with the same symptoms, as well as a full-body rash. The same man was name once again. The same repeated in June and July 2022, totalling five victims in five months.
After each case, the state health officials reached out to the man but found it hard to establish contact. When they did, though? They found out he had went to the emergency room in January of 2022 for ulcerative genital and anal lesions. However, he only got tested for herpes, which came negative, and not for syphilis, of which he had a latent case.
The story becomes worse, as stories tend to do.
ArsTechnica, who reported on the CDC notice, sums it up best:
“The man reported having multiple sex partners in the previous year but declined to disclose their identities.
Patient B through E also reported having other sex partners. Of those who were identified, health officials reported negative syphilis tests for them. Patient E did not identify her other partners, and officials were not able to contact them.”
Still brave enough to find love online?