Congenital syphilis in the United States: highest number of cases since 1994


From NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 2022 infants born in 2020 as of July 29, 2021, a number that already dwarfs the 1870 cases reported in 2019. This is a number that has not been seen in the US in 27 years and the numbers will likely rise when the reporting period ends in a few months.

Image / CDC

Of the 2,022 infants born in 2020 identified as cases of congenital syphilis and reported to the CDC, 139 were reported as stillbirths or infant deaths, or approximately 7 percent.

How has congenital syphilis spread in the US over the past decade? In 2010, only 29 states and the District of Columbia reported one or more cases of congenital syphilis. In 2019, 43 states and the District of Columbia reported one or more cases, the CDC reports.

In addition, 32 states and the District of Columbia are already reporting an increase in cases compared to 2019.

In 2010, a total of 846 US counties (27%) reported at least one case of syphilis in a woman of childbearing age; by 2019 the number of counties had grown to 1,568 (50%).

According to a correspondence published on Thursday New England Journal of Medicine:

Stopping the community’s transmission of syphilis is the most effective way to prevent congenital syphilis; However, detecting and treating syphilis in pregnant women remains invaluable in preventing infant death and disability. The CDC recommends universal syphilis screening at the first prenatal visit, with repeated screening at the 28th week of pregnancy, and at delivery for women living in areas of high morbidity or at increased individual risk.

Implementation of strategies to reduce perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – including prevention of infections in women, increased prenatal testing, and advances in maternal treatment – has been estimated with a decline in annual perinatal HIV cases. linked 1760 in 1991 to fewer than 40 in 2019. A similar use of resources could reduce or eliminate congenital syphilis.

Congenital syphilis is an infectious disease that is transmitted from an infected mother to her baby in the womb. Adults transmit syphilis through sexual contact, but mothers can pass the infection on to their babies in the womb or through the process of childbirth. The disease can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, death shortly after birth, premature birth, and birth defects. A woman can be treated and cured for syphilis while pregnant, but it is important that women get tested early enough for the treatment to be effective. Babies who test positive for syphilis at birth must be treated immediately to avoid serious health problems.

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