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HEALTHWATCH: Escambia Co considered 'Hotspot' for STD's

Updated: Thursday, September 19 2013, 02:37 PM CDT
ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --   Escambia County's sexually transmitted disease rates are among the highest in Florida.

Which infections are causing the most problems and what researchers are doing to track and combat them.

Doctor Susan Turner is the assistant director of the Department of Health in Escambia County.
She and her team get reports from all local emergency rooms, labs and physician offices 24 hours a day for the kind and number of infectious diseases that are diagnosed.

"We analyze them for any trends and we act very quickly."
One major trend -- an elevated rate for sexually transmitted diseases.

The state of Florida is experiencing an official outbreak of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis -- Within that outbreak --  Escambia County's high numbers qualify it as a "hotspot".

"Clyamydia is the big one.  They're probably much more out there than we're seeing for the very reason I mentioned to you, Chlamydia frequently can have no symptons."

But causes scarring which can lead to infertility.
Gonorrhea is similar -- it's a bacterial infection that often does not present symptons and can also lead to infertility.

Can also affect someone's oral cavity or throat."
Both Clyamdia and Gonorrhea are curable.

Between 2007 and 2009 -- Escambia County's Syphillis rates skyrocketed  from two cases a month -- to 10-15 cases a month.

Turner says after an aggressive billboard campaign targeted affected neighborhoods -- the numbers have leveled off to 7-9 cases a month.

Moved from lower bite: ((I think we're building an awareness here of risky behaviors."))
Turner says local Syphilis patients mostly fall into the 30-49 age group.  And unlike national trends,  identify themselves are heterosexual. .

"Had posters showing the clusters of people who were associated with each other, unfortunately we did not see a particular, not a common string."

Turner says since our population didn't change -- she suspects behaviors did for the riskier.
"In our particular situation, individuals hooking up on line or having anonymous sex."))
   
Syphilis is treated with Penicillin shots.
"I'm completely unhappy with our level of STDs.  The good news is that we have lots of resources in our community to test for and treat STDs

We want to thank Sacred Heart for partnering with us.
For more info on this story or to see other Health Watch stories head over to weartv.com and click on the Health portion of our website.HEALTHWATCH: Escambia Co considered 'Hotspot' for STD's


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