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Jump In Syphilis Cases In Mother Lode

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Sonora, CA — The hike in Syphilis, which is an STD, has local health officials sounding the alarm.

In Tuolumne County, the number has doubled from last year, according to the county’s public health officer, Dr. Liza Ortiz, who warns, “We are seeing a very significant increase…Last year we had a total of seven cases. This year, were not even half way through June and we already have 15 cases. We’ve notice that a fair number have been users of illicit drugs most notably heroin and methamphetamine.

In Calaveras County, the increase is not as dramatic with three confirmed cases since January. However, last year there were nine, which Public Heath Manager Linda Winn says points to an increase, but she confirms it isn’t just one group being targeted. “Ours seems to be all across the board, from young people on up to people in their fifties and sixties. We’re also not able to pin point it into one area of the county so that we can target that. Ours are just a general increase in a variety of demographics in our county.”

Flu like symptoms, a rash and blisters do not always develop. Anyone who fears exposure should be tested as left unchecked syphilis can lead to blindness, brain damage and even death. Ortiz notes safe sex is one way to prevent getting Syphilis, which is curable with antibiotics. She wants to alert the public, stating, “We really wanted to get the word out, if you have had unprotected sex you should get tested.”

Both counties offer testing. In Tuolumne, click here for more information or call 209-533-7401. For Calaveras County, click here or contact the health department at 209-754-6460.