Canyon County syphilis outbreak being closely monitored

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 20:40:25-04

Six On Your Side has an update for you on a story we first brought you back in March.

Statistics are showing the syphilis outbreak in Canyon County is subsiding. At the same time, it's still too early on to tell if the trend has passed.

With today's technology of online dating sites and 'apps,' it's easy to meet new people with similar romantic intentions. Southwest District Health Department officials believe this trend has contributed to the recent syphilis outbreak in Canyon County.

A large majority of the patients they've seen infected with syphilis are young, having unprotected sex, have multiple partners and met through a dating site or 'app.'

Epidemiologist for the Southwest District Health Department Randi Pedersen describes what to look for: "Most people, when they're first infected, they'll have a sore. Usually it's on their genitals, it can be on their mouth. It depends on the type of sex that you're having. That sore will go away without treatments. And then, people will usually develop a rash all over their body... same thing that rash will go away even without treatment and then they won't have any symptoms."

However, some people experience symptoms so mild they might not notice them.

This could be problematic for women who are not treated for the infection as it could cause a miscarriage later down the road. That's why Pedersen encourages anyone who has had unprotected sex to get tested. It's a process she says that is free and confidential.

"Syphilis is easily identified and curable with a shot of an antibiotics," Pedersen says.