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Iowa health officials warn of possible syphilis outbreak

Iowa health officials warn of possible syphilis outbreak

In an attempt to head off a syphilis outbreak, Scott County, Iowa, health officials are warning Davenport residents who think they may be at risk for the disease to seek testing. In the past few months, officials have confirmed four cases of syphilis locally, all among men who had unprotected sex with other men they had met in Internet chat rooms. The men, all under age 30, each had between one and four sexual partners who have not yet been notified of the cases. Louis Katz, medical director of the county health department, said that since one of the infected men is bisexual, there is concern that syphilis may spread to other populations of sexually active people. Because the men met over the Internet, contacting partners of the infected men has been difficult, Katz noted. "The issue of using Web sites is complicated by legality, and the county attorney is looking into that," he said. "There has been one chat room that has been identified in these cases, but I've been cautioned not to share it until legalities have been worked out." (AP)

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