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Syphilis outbreak sparks concern in Oklahoma

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

An outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis in Enid, Okla., has sparked concerns among public health officials and residents alike. There have been nearly double the amount of reported cases of syphilis this year compared to last year in the city, so those in the area may want to consider getting STD tests to be sure of their status.

Syphilis in Enid
In 2012, there were only 10 reported cases of the disease in Enid, but there have been 18 so far in the city. When it comes to such a small population center, the number of cases can be a major concern, according to local Fox affiliate KOKH-TV. The outbreak seems to involve mostly young people who are experiencing positive results in STD testing. The disease can spread very easily from sexual contact, so officials warned that it is very important to be cautious and have the necessary tests.

"It can pass from oral sex. It can pass from kissing. If you have a chancre sore in your mouth that can also be a symptom," said Maggie Jackson, spokesperson for the Garfield County Health Department.

The STD often does not show symptoms that are noticeable or necessary attributable to an STD, so having a lab test online can provide more definitive answers. Those who live in Enid or across the country who think they may have syphilis or another common STD should be aware of the symptoms.

Syphilis symptoms
Early syphilis infections can be difficult to track because the symptoms are minimal. Generally, early infections cause a small, painless sore in the affected area, which can be the genitals, mouth or anus, according to Medline Plus. This sore is what allows the infection to spread during sexual contact. After this, patents often develop rashes on their hands and feet, which are usually painless. Some infected with the STD may also experience swelling of the lymph nodes.

In its early stages, syphilis is relatively easy to cure with antibiotics. If left untreated, the disease can wreak havoc on the central nervous system and potentially cause brain damage, among other complications. Lab tests done early can make sure that the disease is treated so that these potentially deadly effects can be avoided.

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