Palm Springs is hot spot of syphilis outbreak

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By Max Rodriguez for KMIR

The Riverside County public health staff is warning of a Syphilis outbreak in the Coachella Valley, with the county’s health officer concerned over the spread of the diseases reaching a critical point.

“We do have a syphilis outbreak happening right now,” Marcella Herrera-Carpenter said, she is the program coordinator for the Riverside University Health System with the county. 

These are busy times for Dr. Christopher Foltz at the Dock in Palm Springs, he specializes and treats infectious diseases with the Desert Aids Project.

Foltz said, “Primary Syphilis usually people get a sore, could be anywhere on the body, usually in the genital region sometimes in the mouth.”   

But he said the sores from the first and second phases of the disease can disappear within one or two weeks, “And the infection can go dormant in the body and kind of lay quiet for a while and that’s when it gets more difficult to diagnose.”

But Herrera-Carpenter said the disease can still be transmitted to others, “And how do we stop that, well we stop that by first of all knowing who are partners are, using protection, limiting those partners and making sure that everybody is getting an S-T-D check-up.”