Rising Syphilis Infant Deaths Could Be 100% Preventable, Shines Light On Public Health Epidemic

Syphilis is still a problem despite several attempts to eradicate it. Syphilis has been around for centuries. It affects all sexes. If the bacteria that causes syphilis crosses into the placenta, mothers can also transmit the disease to their children. Congenital syphilis is when a baby is born with syphilis.

Modern medicine made infant transmission possible. Early syphilis is treatable. completely eliminatedPenicillin injection. Congenital cases declined over time. It became a relic from a previous time. 

However, a new report from CDC suggests that this could not be true. Syphilis has been reported to be affecting infants at an alarmingly rapid rate. 

Why would a preventable disease see such an increase? The answer lies in America’s deeply flawed public healthcare system.

Breaking down the Disturbing Trend

The CDC’s April 2021 reportIn 2019, the last year for which there was complete data, there were 1,870 cases in the US of congenital Syphilis. Preliminary data for 2020 nearly 2,100 cases

These numbers may seem small in comparison to the actual number. 130,000 casesOverall, reported. However, context is important. CS is currently at the peak of mother-to-child transmissions of HIVThe height of the AIDS crisis. 

Congenital case rates have steadily increasedEvery year since 2013. Since 2013, the number of syphilitic stillbirths has increased from 79 to 94% per year. 

This is because it is preventable. The CDC has launched a campaign to address this problem. eradicate syphilis in 1999After 80% of US states reported zero cases,

The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and syphilis continued into the 21st Century.

Syphilis’s Long, Twisted History

Many of us have been separated from the truth of syphilis by stigmas and near-eradications. We have a tendency to lump the disease in with other STDs, such as herpes or crabs.

But syphilis is different—more insidious and difficult to catch. Syphilis can be fatal. bacterial infection that begins as a painless sore at the bacteria’s point of entry. The sore usually heals itself within two months. 

Still, the disease doesn’t leave when the sore does. It becomes secondary syphilis. This stage can lead to rashes, wartlike sores and hair loss.

Syphilis can cause damage to the brain, nerves and eyes, liver, bones, joints, and blood vessels. The disease can cause dementia or even death. 

Syphilis is a well-known condition. for centuriesWith each new wave comes the stigma. European countries have been stigmatized in the past. (*( for the disease’s spread. blamed each otherItalians, Germans, and the British nicknamed syphilis ‘the French disease.’ The French named it ‘the Neapolitan disease.’ In Poland, syphilis is referred to as ‘the German disease,’ and so on. (

Sound familiar?Just like in the past with pandemics, problems started to spread while everyone else was busy blaming. This time, infants were caught up in the crossfire.

The Dangers and Prevention of CS

(Image Point Fr/Shutterstock.com)

Patient receiving an injection from a medical professional.
Syphilis can cause serious symptoms in adults. So, it’s unsurprising to find its symptoms affect infants tenfold. 

They can also have facial and skeletal deformities. They can be born blind or deaf. And that’s

Infants born with syphilisIfThey are fortunate enough to survive childbirth. Around End in a stillbirth, or early death. 40% of all congenital casesSome people who survive the diagnosis may not experience symptoms until they are five years old. If the disease is not treated, it can continue to affect them throughout their adult lives. 

This problem can be avoided, despite the risk of sounding repetitive. 

Treatment of infected people

CS prevention The treatment ultimately depends on the. penicillin is 98% effectivestage of pregnancyHowever, it is not necessary for a child to die from CS by 2021. So why are they so sick?

The Big Picture Paints a Bigger Problem

The CDC gathered data in order to determine the most populous countries.

. They found that 40.2% of cases in 2019 were due to inadequate maternal care, despite receiving a timely diagnosis. common causes of missed treatmentThe

A lack of timely prenatal care or syphilis testing was the main cause. Other causes were late identification and delayed syphilis test. second most common causeYou can see a larger picture if you take away all the jargon. “Lack of maternal care” suggests the blame is on the mother and not on the

. “Lack of affordable. accessible health care” would be more accurate. health care systemPregnant persons experiencing

. poverty, homelessnessOr substance abuseAre incarcerationTheir children. These issues are disproportionately affecting minorities. more likely to pass this diseaseInfants are dying from preventable causes. This isn’t due to a lack of medicine but a lack of

Access. They’re dying because of their mothers’ place on the socioeconomic ladder. The US Dept. The US Department.

In January 2021. Infants will be at risk until we address the bigger issues. STI National Strategic Plan