City health officials will host a news conference at 3:30 p.m. today at the Health Department, 1902 Texas Avenue, to discuss a recent syphilis outbreak.
Since March 1, two primary and five secondary cases of syphilis have been reported to the Health Department, and officials have identified and treated 18 others who were exposed to the disease. All cases involve individuals between 21 and 35 years of age who reside in Lubbock County.
Primary syphilis is highly infectious, and health officials normally expect two cases a year in Lubbock County.
"If you have had any type of sex with anyone in the Lubbock area whose syphilis status you do not know, you may have been exposed," said Ricky Vaughn, disease intervention specialist for the City of Lubbock. "Syphilis is a dangerous but curable disease. If you think you've been exposed, you need to get tested. Syphilis, if not treated, can be fatal."
Symptoms of Syphilis include, but are not limited to: chancres (painless sore or sores in mouth or on genitalia), a rash (bumps) on palms or bottoms of feet, body rash (dry or moist), patches of mucous in mouth, hair loss, or moist warts in pubic or genital area. Although symptoms disappear spontaneously without treatment, the person is still infected and the disease may spread to other organs in the body.
Treatment for syphilis is unlike any other sexually transmitted disease and requires specific injectable medication.
For confidential testing and treatment, call the City of Lubbock Health Department at (806) 775-2933 to schedule an appointment.
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