The Surge of Syphilis Infections Among Newborns: A Critical Health Crisis in America

2023-11-08 10:41:00
American health authorities warned on Tuesday of a rise in syphilis infections among newborns, which has more than doubled what it was in ten years, a situation that reflects concern about the resurgence of sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

An infant becomes infected with syphilis when his mother has this bacterial infection and does not receive appropriate treatment. In a pregnant woman, syphilis may lead to miscarriage, the death of the newborn, or long-term complications for the infant, such as loss of vision or hearing, or even bone deformities.

In 2022, more than 3,700 children were born with syphilis in the United States, a number that was ten times greater than in 2012, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main federal health agency in the United States.

This authority confirmed that 9 out of 10 infections could have been avoided if the women concerned had performed examinations and received timely treatments during pregnancy.

“The congenital syphilis crisis in the United States has reached catastrophic proportions,” CDC official Debra Horry said in a statement.

She added in a press conference, “The spread of sexually transmitted diseases is still on the rise in our country,” noting that syphilis infections are increasing “among different age groups, including women of reproductive age and their sexual partners.”

The CDC indicates that the risk of black, Native American, or Latin American children being born with the disease in 2021 was eight times higher than the risk associated with children with white mothers, a finding that the health agency attributes to “decades of social factors.” well-established conditions that have created additional obstacles to access to care for pregnant women.”

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According to health authorities, the lack of testing and treatment is linked to a number of individual and organizational factors.

“Obstacles may include lack of health coverage, living in an environment without access to medical care or medicine related to women, difficulty accessing transportation, and “Linked to drug abuse, unstable housing, poverty and racism.”

The specialized agency called on health professionals to seize every opportunity to conduct examinations for pregnant women, including those who arrive through any emergency service, or those who are involved in programs related to drug abuse.

The agency also recommended starting treatment when a rapid test confirms that a pregnant woman has the disease, even if this result requires another test to confirm it.

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