Monday, 1 October 2018

Syphilis Rises Sharply Among Newborns

Newborns

The number of babies born with syphilis has quite doubled within the past four years
and last year reached a 20-year high, consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention.

Syphilis could also be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby through the
placenta. The infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths, and infants born with it
may suffer a good sort of serious health problems, including deformities, seizures,
anemia and jaundice.

Congenital syphilis is often treated with penicillin, but the damage caused by the disease
can last a lifetime.

Elimination of syphilis had almost been achieved by 2000, said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of
S.T.D. prevention at the C.D.C. “There was support from Congress — they even argued
that our add S.T.D.s would prepare us for bioterrorism,” she said.

“Cost analysis showed that billions would be saved by investing in elimination, and we
had a way more robust public health system at that point,” she continued. “We really got
syphilis down to a low level.” But, the news report said, “progress has since been unraveled.”
There were 101,567 cases of syphilis reported in 2017. Of these, 30,644 were primary
and secondary cases — the earliest and most infectious stages of the disease.

This represents a ten .5 percent over the speed in 2016, and a 72.7 percent increase since
2013. The number of syphilis cases has increased every year since 2013.

Along with this, the number of cases of congenital syphilis has also steadily increased, to
918 cases in 2017 from 362 in 2013, a national rate of 23.3 per 100,000 live births in
2017.

The highest rate of congenital disease was found in Louisiana, with 93.4 cases per
100,000 births. Rates were also high in Nevada, California, Texas, and Florida.

The C.D.C. recommends that each one pregnant woman be screened for syphilis during the primary
prenatal visit, with additional testing at the beginning of the trimester for ladies at
the increased risk or who sleep in a community with high syphilis prevalence.

Treatment with penicillin is inexpensive and effective, but Dr. Bolan said that about 34
percent of girls who give birth to babies with syphilis have had no prenatal care in the least.

“Congenital syphilis is a needless tragedy,” she said. “It is going to take all sectors of our
society to help if we’re going to be able to reverse these trends — health care and
public health sectors, communities, decision-makers, researchers and industry.”

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