Syphilis Outbreak Prompts Health Alert - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/17/08

Syphilis Outbreak Prompts Health Alert

The Lubbock Health Department is alerting anyone who's been sexually active, and doesn't know the health status of their partner, to get tested for Syphilis.

Right now, the health department has had 11 cases of Syphilis reported to their office.  Ten of those occurred in the last month.  In 2007, the department only had nine cases reported all year.

The most common symptoms of Syphilis are chancres, or painless, sores that appear in your mouth or on you genitals.  You can also develop a rash on your palms, bottom of your feet, or on your body core.

These symptoms can disappear quickly, but you can still be infected. The high number of reported cases leads health officials to suspect even more untreated cases.

"Anytime that you see a cluster of cases in public health or at any level, generally you're only looking at the tip of the iceberg. Because you go in and out of symptoms so quickly, people think they're okay and don't come in.  It's important that you do," Disease Intervention Specialist for the City of Lubbock Ricky Vaughn said. 

Cases reported to the health department are people between the ages of 21 and 38-years-old.  Syphilis is curable, but it requires a specific, injectable medication.  If left untreated, Syphilis can be fatal.

You can get tested and treated at the City of Lubbock Health Department for FREE.  Just call 775-2933 and set up an appointment.  Tell them you specifically want to be tested for Syphilis, and they will expedite the process.

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