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Syphilis Cases Spike In Lane County

Lane County Health and Human Services

Lane County public health officials are seeing a dramatic rise in syphilis cases this year. They say the highly communicable disease is spreading because people just aren’t getting tested.

So far, there are 92 reported syphilis cases countywide, with the majority showing up in Eugene. Jason Davis is with Lane County Health and Human Services. He says officials fear there could be even more --given the nature of the disease.

“It starts out as a small sore and a lot of times that small sore has not pain associated with it,” says Davis. “So people see and they kind of ignore it, maybe give it a few days to go away and then it does go away.”

“So people think, ‘I’m free and clear. I’m good to go.’ They don’t get tested and then they are still contagious and they can spread it around,” he says.

Davis says this year’s data shows a troubling increase in female cases. Syphilis can be spread in the womb. He also points to the advent of online dating. The public health message when it comes to casual sex: always use protection.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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