Infant Death as Congenital Syphilis Persists Ten-Year-Long Across the US

For ten years, the number of babies born with syphilis in the U.S. has risen, not recorded. Data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the danger of malaria.

In 2012, 332 babies were born with the disease. By 2021, that number has risen to nearly seven, to at least 2,268, according to preliminary estimates. And 166 of those babies died.

About 7% of babies who have had syphilis in recent years have died; Thousands more were born with the disease facing problems related to brain and bone malformations, blindness, and physical damage.

For public health officials, the situation is even more painful, as the prevalence of congenital syphilis reached near current low levels from 2000 to 2012 among educational interventions. By 2020, after reduced funding and oversight, the number of cases will be seven times higher than in 2012.

“The saddest thing about it is that we ended this in 2000,” said William Andrews, a public intelligence officer for Oklahoma’s health service and disaster reduction. “Now he has come back with retribution. We are trying to convey the message that physical health is health. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

While the number of caseloads is increasing, the CDC’s fund for transmitted disease prevention – the primary funding source for most public health departments – is held largely for two. over the years, its purchasing power has been lowered by inflation.

Tuesday’s CDC report on STD types will provide statistical data on congenital syphilis cases for 2020, and preliminary figures for 2021 are expected to increase. CDC data shows that congenital syphilis will increase by 2020 in affected states such as Texas, California, and Nevada and the disease is now present in all states of the nation. Only three states – Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont – reported congenital syphilis cases in 2020.

From 2011 to 2020, congenital syphilis resulted in 633 recorded births and infant deaths, according to the latest CDC data.

Prevention of congenital syphilis – the term used when syphilis is transmitted to a baby in the womb – from a very simple medical approach: If a pregnant woman is seen in more than one place months before the birth, there are some penicillin pictures very close. medicine for mother and baby. But cuts in funding and competition from key players in the country’s public health care system have severely reduced access to such services.

According to data collected by states and reviewed by the CDC, the reasons why people with syphilis go unnoticed and uncared for.

In Western states, the majority of cases involve women who have not received prenatal care and have not been tested for syphilis until childbirth. There are many drug use cases, most closely related to methamphetamines. “They feel a lot of stigma and stigma by the health community,” Drs. Stephanie Pierce is a maternity nurse at the University of Oklahoma who runs a nursing home for women with multiple pregnancies.

In the Southern states, a 2018 CDC study found that the vast majority of congenital syphilis cases were among women who had been tried and diagnosed but had not received treatment. That year, among black mothers who gave birth to a baby with syphilis, 37% were not well cared for even though they had a valid diagnosis. Among white mothers, that figure is 24%. Long -term racism in health care, poverty, transportation problems, poor health care facilities, and overcrowded recreational facilities have made staff work hard to track down patients in crisis, e.g. such as medical professionals.

Doctors are seeing an increase in the number of women being treated for syphilis but also during pregnancy. Amid rising cases and real estate resources, some states have invested in clinical research into pregnant women of childbearing age; They could not take the initiative to take care of their ill sex partners.

Dr. Eric McGrath, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, said he has seen some newborns in recent years whose mothers have been treated for syphilis but reported again during pregnancy by unattended co -workers.

Caring for a newborn baby with syphilis is not a big deal. The risk of penicillin is not small, but giving it to a baby is often associated with lumbar puncture and other painful conditions. The treatment, which included keeping the baby in the hospital for 10 days, ended a very important time for family relationships.

McGrath saw two babies in his career who had not been seen and taken care of at birth and later came to him with full -blown syphilis, which included full body thighs and necks. ʻĀ. It was a terrible thing he didn’t want to do again. The desired course was to take care of the baby and take care of the parents during pregnancy.

But in some areas, providers do not always test for syphilis. While most states require testing sometime during pregnancy, last year only 14 were required for each in the third trimester. The CDC expects a third -trimester test in areas with high levels of syphilis, a growing number in the U.S.

After Arizona declared a pandemic in 2018, state health officials wanted to see if a major third -trimester test could prevent the disease. Looking at 18 months of data, the researchers found that about three -quarters of 200 pregnant women developed syphilis in 2017 and the first half in 2018 received care. A total of 57 babies were born with syphilis, nine of which died. Studies have suggested that a third of patients can be prevented by testing in the third trimester.

They also found that the state would pay the state about $ 113,300 to care for women through various programs and $ 113 more. Calculating the cost of nursing homes for sick babies, officials have halted a new attempt to save state money.

But it was difficult to get protection money. Considering the increase in funding, CDC funding for STDs has fallen by 41% since 2003, according to a survey by the National Coalition of STD Directors. While the cases have increased, leaving the health clinics loaded with more work and less money.

Janine Waters, STD program director for the state of New Mexico, oversaw the opening. When Waters began his career more than 20 years ago, he and his colleagues tracked down every case of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported, Not only to ensure that people are taken care of but to communicate with their partners, with purpose. of stopping the spread of the disease. In a 2019 interview with KHN, he said his team is struggling to keep up with syphilis alone, even as they are registered with dreaded congenital syphilis cases on the rise in Texas and Arizona.

By 2020, New Mexico will have the highest number of congenital syphilis in the country.

Covid-19 disease has depleted the remaining resources. Half of the health departments in the country have completely shut down STD schooling, turning their assets into covid. In California, for years struggling with high levels of congenital syphilis, three -quarters of local health agencies sent more than half of their STD staff to work on covid.

The incidence of syphilis is on the rise – at least in the short term – and many public health agencies are turning their attention to syphilis and other diseases. And they are working hard. While the STD prevention plan for 2023 remains in place, the American Rescue Plan Act is $ 200 million to help health agencies improve detection and screening for covid and as well as other diseases. Many agencies are spending that money on STDs.

The money is an infusion that state health officials say will change. But considering inflation, it actually brought back STD protection money in 2003, said Stephanie Arnold Pang of the National Coalition of STD Directors. And the American Rescue Plan does not cover some aspects of STD prevention, including medical services.

The company wants to revitalize dedicated STD clinics, where people can drop in for testing and treatment at little or no cost. Proponents say it will fill a vacancy that has plagued medical practice since public health facilities closed after the 2008 recession.

Texas, which is battling its expansion, will use its portion of American Rescue Plan funding to fill 94 new programs focused on various forms of STD prevention. Employers will intensify state -imposed pre -disease procedures, with a new data system to monitor disease rates, evaluation boards in major cities to monitor morbidity for each. cases of congenital syphilis, and a requirement to test providers. syphilis in the third trimester of pregnancy. A suite of interventions is working, but it may take some time before the cases go down, said Amy Carter, the state’s congenital syphilis coordinator.

“Growth didn’t happen overnight,” Carter said. “So we’re not going to have the effect of our nightly defense.”

This story was created by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an independent editorial service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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