The number of syphilis cases continues to increase in the United States which has become a serious cause of concern over the past years.
Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is most commonly spread by sexual activity. Syphilis can also be transferred from a mother to her child during pregnancy or while giving birth.
According to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cases of syphilis transferred from mother to the child have more than doubled over the years.
CDC recommends pregnant women to test for syphilis at the first meeting with their doctors during the pregnancy. Pregnant women who live in syphilis prone areas should get tested again during their third trimester and also at the time of delivery.
40% of pregnant women who are not treated for syphilis can lead to deaths of babies during or after delivery. Not treating syphilis can also lead to miscarriage. Penicillin treatment has proven to be 98% effective in curing syphilis.
Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, STD, Viral Hepatitis, and TB Prevention said, “When passed to a baby, syphilis can result in miscarriage, newborn death, and severe lifelong physical and mental health problems.”
Mermin also said, “No parent should have to bear the death of a child when it would have been prevented with a simple test and safe treatment.”
Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention said, “To protect every baby, we have to start by protecting every mother.”
Bolan also stated, “Early testing and prompt treatment to cure any infections are critical first steps, but too many women are falling through the cracks of the system. If we’re going to reverse the resurgence of congenital syphilis that has to change.”
The year 2017 report suggests that 918 cases of syphilis were recorded.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that in the year 2015, 487 syphilis cases came forward. This number increased the following year.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been working on protecting pregnant women and newborns from syphilis. Syphilis can be avoided by timely detecting the problem. They are also spreading awareness among pregnant women about the risk factors involved.
Syphilis is a threat to the child and the mother. With just simple steps the danger can be avoided. Regular check-ups with your gynecologist and taking proper treatment can help save women fighting syphilis.