Conflicting Reports of Disease Outbreak at Coachella

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Spring brings many new activities that allow people to take advantage of warmer weather.  Music lovers take advantage of music festivals that pop up all over the country.  One of the well-publicized ones is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held in Indio, California. This year’s event took place from April 12-21. Many people like to go to Coachella for the music, others go for the experience that comes with it. Many celebrities attend and it is a good place to see and be seen. This year, it may also be a place to get sick. Many people have reported that their experience was ruined by a herpes outbreak. Around 11,000 people reported that their trip was ruined because they had contracted herpes. Many of these people logged into an app, Herpalert, and the local site said that their numbers spiked during the time. The app reported that they normally receive inquiries from about 12 people who need help. During Coachella, the numbers jumped from 10-12 to more than 1,105 cases. The operators of this year’s event are aware of the Herpalert report, but they do not seem to have many answers for those who contracted the disease.

Despite the reports on herpalert, officials with the public health agency in the county where Coachella is held report that they have not seen any increase reports of herpes cases. Area labs do not report any increase in the number of herpes tests or diagnosis. The Herpalert app bases its numbers on people who use the app for diagnosis or other advice concerning the illness.  After hearing contradictory reports from health officials, those operating the Herpalert app admitted that inquiries to the app did not all necessarily represent new cases. They also admit that it is not uncommon to see some increase in traffic on the app after music festivals.