Officials at the Lubbock Health Department tell us they are very concerned over a big spike in syphilis cases locally. Two in Lubbock are infected as well as two in surrounding counties. Sounds like a small group, but apparently that is a very big deal when you consider syphilis is highly contagious and potentially fatal.
"We're pulling many many partners of people who have been confirmed cases of syphilis so that's where we're getting kind of nervous about the possibility of an epidemic here in Lubbock," says an investigator for the Lubbock Health Department.
The identity of this person is remaining anonymous because he is an undercover investigator for the health department, trying to look for the source and prevent the spread of syphilis in this area. He says it appears the local case involve two bisexual men who met on the Internet, and that since both those men are married, the disease has likely spread to the female population through unprotected sex.
Syphilis starts as a lesion or sore, which lasts for a few days. Then, about a month later,the disease appears again with flu like symptoms, which also disappear. The disease is easily treated, but if you don't get help, syphilis can become quietly destructive inside the body leading to brain damage, dementia and organ failure.
If you think there is a chance you've been infected, call the health department for syphilis screening, which is a blood test. The number is (806) 775-2933.