Apparently, syphilis is making its way across West Texas.

The City of Amarillo Department of Public Health has issued a health advisory for the sexually-transmitted disease syphilis. According to city officials, 31 cases of syphilis have been recorded in 2016 so far. In 2015, there were a total of 47 cases recorded throughout the whole year.

Lubbock was put under a similar advisory by the state health department earlier this week.

The symptoms of syphilis are:

  • Sores, usually not painful or itchy
  • Rashes on hands, feet, or all over the body, usually not painful or itchy
  • Hair loss

In its primary stages, syphilis can be treated very easily with penicillin or other antibiotics.  However, syphilis can cause serious health problems if it goes untreated. In the latent stages of the disease, people start to experience blindness, dementia, and paralysis. The final stages of the disease can cause organ damage and even death.

Syphilis can also cause issues in women with pregnancy, delivery, and newborn health.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the best ways to prevent syphilis are to avoid having multiple sexual partners and use protection for every sexual encounter.

The City of Amarillo Department of Public Health is offering free STD testing, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. These expanded hours will be available during the week of May 2nd. Their normal hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

To read more about this Amarillo health advisory, click here.