Syphilis cases in newborns have “skyrocketed” in the last decade, CDC warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the number of babies born with syphilis in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate.

More than 3,700 babies were born with syphilis in 2022, more than 10 times the number reported in 2012.

That year, about 200 babies died from the disease.

The agency said the increase reflects the overall increase in syphilis among women of reproductive age, but could be prevented with proper treatment.

In fact, nearly nine in 10 cases (88%) in 2022 could have been prevented with timely testing and treatment during pregnancy, according to the agency.

“Too many people do not get tested and treated early enough during pregnancy,” the CDC said.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that develops in stages and can be transmitted during pregnancy.

The infection can cause serious health problems without proper treatment, but it is easily treated with antibiotics, which can be given safely during pregnancy.

More than 3,700 babies were born with syphilis in 2022, more than 10 times the number reported in 2012. CDC

“You may not know you have syphilis and that’s why it’s so important, especially during pregnancy, to get tested,” Dr. Debra Houry, CDC medical director, told ABC News.

However, data shows that more than half of babies with congenital syphilis in 2022 were born to women who tested positive for syphilis during pregnancy but did not receive appropriate treatment.

The CDC stated that barriers to care at the individual and systemic levels, such as substance abuse and limited access to health care, are to blame for the lack of adequate testing and care and must be urgently addressed.

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The infection can cause serious health problems without proper treatment, but it is easily treated with antibiotics, which can be given safely during pregnancy. Shutterstock

The public health agency found that two in five (40%) people who had a baby with syphilis did not receive prenatal care, alerting experts to the need to actively expand care.

Experts also call for faster testing compared to traditional blood tests, which can take days, to allow doctors to treat the infection on the spot, since women who do not receive regular prenatal care often cannot be contacted and They do not return for further treatment.

The CDC also recommends testing pregnant people in more settings, including emergency departments, jails, and needle exchange programs.

According to the CDC, nearly nine in 10 cases of syphilis in newborns in 2022 could have been prevented with timely testing and treatment during pregnancy.

Syphilis screening during pregnancy should be performed at all initial prenatal care visits, according to the CDC, or as soon as pregnancy is identified, as most cases can be safely eliminated no later than 30 days before delivery. birth.

People in higher risk categories, including those who live in a community with high rates of syphilis, should also be rescreened at 28 weeks and at delivery, the organization added.

In 2021, 38% of US counties (where 70% of the population resides) reported syphilis rates that placed them in the high-risk category, Stat News reported.

“The congenital syphilis crisis in the United States has escalated at a heartbreaking rate,” Houry told Stat News. “New actions are needed to prevent more family tragedies. “We call on healthcare providers, public health systems and communities to take additional steps to connect mothers and babies to the care they need.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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