A sharp increase in syphilis cases has led the Alabama Department of Public Health to issue a health advisory for north Alabama.
The ADPH says there's been a 90 percent increase in reported cases over 2015 in Madison County. The department announced Friday that 54 cases have been reported in Madison County in 2016.
Health officials say infection can occur after a person has direct contact with a syphilis sore during sex. Syphilis can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby.
Persons who contract syphilis may develop a sore or rash, but many won't be aware of infection unless tested. In most cases, syphilis can be cured by antibiotics.
ADPH is implementing an enhanced screening program and outreach to those groups most at risk.