Newborns diagnosed with syphilis at alarming rates

From: Mayo Clinic News Network

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A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that looks at sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has some concerning news, especially when it comes to syphilis. While cases of other STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, have decreased or seen modest increases, syphilis has jumped 80% in the four years from 2018 to 2022.

Dr. Stacey Rizza, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist, says syphilis is a bacterial infection that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. But she says it also can be transmitted from an expecting mother to the baby.

“So if a mother has syphilis, whether she knows it or not, while she’s pregnant and is not diagnosed and treated, she can transmit that to her fetus, and the baby can be born with syphilis,” says Dr. Rizza. This is also known as congenital syphilis, and according to the CDC report, cases of syphilis among newborns rose 183% between 2018 and 2022.
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