Klamath County seeing syphilis cases 5x higher than pre-pandemic

KLAMATH CO., Ore — Syphilis cases are on the rise, up five times since the beginning of the pandemic according to Klamath County Public Health. Valeree Lane with Public Health said KCPH believes the rise is due to less testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Public health urges sexually active people who are not in a monogamous relationship to get tested at least once a year — but testing slowed down once COVID-19 hit. This is a growing concern because if syphilis goes untreated with simple antibiotics, people can have lifelong problems with their nervous system and brain activity.

“We’re not making any sort of a negative kind of judgment. Every test is confidential. Letting their partners know that they have tested positive allows the community to be safer and healthier,” said Lane.

The county has also seen a rise in chlamydia cases in recent years. Lane said the public health clinic hasn’t been utilized as much as it was pre-pandemic. Luckily, they report they’re beginning to see testing numbers increase and want to remind people getting tested is simple and painless.

Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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