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Syphilis Cases Reported In Eastern SD

June 29, 2012, 5:21 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

South Dakota's Department of Health is issuing a warning about a sexually-transmitted disease. That's because doctors have seen an increase in the number of Syphilis cases recently.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually transmitted through sex. While it is easily treated if caught early, the disease can ultimately damage the central nervous system and even cause death.

The epidemiologist at the Department of Health says they issued the alert because of the increase in cases, which were all in eastern South Dakota.

Last year there were no reports of syphilis in the state. This year there have been seven cases of early syphilis and three cases of late syphilis.

"For me the main concern is congenital syphilis where if a pregnant woman gets it, she can pass it along to her babies, but we do not have that. We have not had a case of that in South Dakota, so we're trying to prevent that." State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health Lon Kightlinger said.

And here are some of the symptoms of syphilis. It starts off with a painless sore at the site of contact. A rash may appear on any part of the body around six weeks later. You may also feel tired, have a fever or sore throat, along with headaches.

"It's a fairly hidden disease, and because it's a rare disease in South Dakota, physicians aren't really going to be looking for it right away, so we want to increase awareness among physicians and among the general population," Kightlinger said.

If you think you might have the disease, Kightlinger says you should see your doctor right away.

You can check out more information and see the alert on the Department of Health’s website.

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