Record High in Syphilis Cases: San Diego County Health Officials Urge Pregnant Women to Get Screened

Health Officials Advise Screening for Syphilis During Pregnancy in San Diego County

San Diego County public health officials are urging pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant to get screened for syphilis by their healthcare provider. The number of babies born with syphilis in the county has reached a record 35 cases in 2022, according to new data.

Syphilis is a contagious bacterial infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, resulting in congenital syphilis. This can lead to serious health issues for the baby, including miscarriage, stillbirth, and even death if left untreated.

Cases of congenital syphilis have been on the rise in San Diego County since 2013, with 35 cases in 2022 compared to 30 cases in 2021. The rate of congenital syphilis has increased by nearly 1,200% since then. Cases of syphilis in women of childbearing age have also increased from 369 in 2021 to 424 cases in 2022.

Health officials emphasize the importance of testing for syphilis during the first prenatal visit and again during the third trimester. Treatment with antibiotics is available, even during pregnancy. It is crucial for both pregnant women and their sexual partners to get tested and treated if necessary.

Syphilis can result in serious complications such as bone abnormalities, severe anemia, enlarged organs, and neurological issues like vision or hearing loss. Nationwide, cases of syphilis have been on the rise since the early 2000s, with a slight decrease from 2021 to 2022.

County public health centers offer resources for STD testing and treatment.

Pregnant women should prioritize their health and that of their unborn babies by getting screened for syphilis and seeking treatment if necessary.

It’s important for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant to understand the risks associated with having untreated syphilis and seek medical attention promptly if they suspect they may have it or have had sexual contact with someone who has it.

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