Health officials are responding to an outbreak of syphilis in Oklahoma County.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) confirm about 80 of the sexually transmitted disease (STD) connected to a group of people within the same social network between the ages 14-47 years old.
“Anyone who has sex with multiple partners, anyone who trades sex for money or drugs, and frequent drug users – those would be the individuals who we’re noticing within the social network that we really need to get in and get tested,” said Tiffany Elmore, the Administrator of Clinical Services with OCCHD.
Because of the outbreak, the OCCHD is offering free testing and treatment for anyone who thinks they may have the STD.
In her public health career, Elmore said she has never seen a syphilis spike like this.
“With it being so new and that we’re already at 80 cases, I do think this has the potential to get larger,” she explained.
People with the sexually transmitted disease could have sores or rashes, Elmore told News 9. But the scary thing is, some with syphilis may not see signs or symptoms at all.
“If you leave it untreated, it can have irreversible, severe consequences that could eventually lead to death,” she added.
Elmore said those consequences include infertility, damage to your brain and other organs, and to your ears and eyes.
But if caught in time, it can be cured.