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Syphilis diagnoses on the rise

Increasing numbers of people have been diagnosed with syphilis in Lanarkshire, figures have revealed. 

Local health professionals are urging anyone who could be at risk of the sexually transmitted disease to get tested. 

Treatment of syphilis is usually a single penicillin injection. 

Symptoms of syphilis include swelling in the lymph glands and painless sores in the area the infection has been transmitted. 

When the infection moves into its second stage, a non-itchy rash may appear on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. 

A latent stage - where the infection has no symptoms and cannot be passed on - may last for years or even decades. 

However, tertiary syphilis can result in stroke, dementia, paralysis, blindness or deafness, depending on which part of the body the infection has spread to - in some cases even resulting in death. 

In 2012, 17 cases of syphilis were diagnosed by NHS Lanarkshire's Sexual Health Service. But 19 new cases have been diagnosed this year so far. 

Clinician Anne McLellan from the service in Scotland said: "Although the overall number of cases of syphilis diagnosed by the Sexual Health Service in Lanarkshire remains fairly low, we are seeing an increase.

"We have particularly seen an increase in the number of young people aged under 25 who have been diagnosed with syphilis."