LUBBOCK, Texas — The Health Department held a Board of Health meeting on Friday to discuss the uptick in syphilis cases in Lubbock County.

Katherine Wells, Director of Public Health with the Lubbock Health Department, said that the number of Syphilis cases were the highest numbers they’ve seen in Lubbock County.

“We will probably have about 550 cases for the county this year, or for 2022, and that’s compared to having 100 cases a year before. So, we’re seeing a four-times increase in the number of cases,” Wells said.

Wells told that if a person with syphilis were to go untreated, it could cause other health problems.

“Memory loss, loss of eyesight, and then a lot of joint pain… then one of the big concerns is that syphilis in a pregnant woman can lead to very severe birth defects, or even the death of the baby or the fetus,” Wells said.

Syphilis is typically found in young sexually active men between the ages of 20 to 30 years old.

“Now we’re seeing that demographic shift to almost half of our cases are now female. And that is really a concern with pregnancy…” Wells said.

Although wells said cases of Syphilis is also going around the country.

“And a lot of that is due to moving public health workforce around to respond to COVID,” Wells said.

Wells said Syphilis can also mimic other health issues.

“They always quoted as the great imitator. So, syphilis can look like other diseases. You can have you get a rash early on so that can look like other dermatitis people end up with if it goes untreated, you end up with dementia or eyesight issues. So, it just looks like other things that could be going on with the body.” Wells said.

Wells said the goal of the health departments for syphilis “is to get down to that point where it’s something very rare.”

If you have any questions or need assistance from the Health Department, click here or call (806) 775-2933.