The number of syphilis cases, primary, secondary and early latent syphilis, reported in Lubbock County, Texas have tripled in the first third of 2016 compared to the same period last year, prompting health officials to issue a Syphilis Alert.
During the first 4 months of 2016, 24 cases were identified compared to 8 cases during the same time period in 2015. The alert asks for physicians and other medical providers in the community to screen those at risk to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms of syphilis in adults include a painless sore that will go away without treatment followed by a non-itchy body rash. If left untreated syphilis can lead to damage through the body including neurological and cardiovascular complications. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy and for the newborn.
In most cases, syphilis is easily treated with a single injection of penicillin. Penicillin will also stop syphilis infection in contacts that may not yet show symptoms or signs.