Health Officials in San Diego County Encourage Pregnant Women to Get Screened for Syphilis

Rising Cases of Congenital Syphilis in San Diego County: Why Pregnant Women Must Be Tested and Treated

Pregnant individuals or those planning to become pregnant in San Diego County are being urged by public health officials to speak with their healthcare provider about getting screened for syphilis. The number of babies born with syphilis in the county has increased, reaching a record 35 cases in 2022, up from 30 cases in 2021.

Congenital syphilis, which can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, is a contagious bacterial infection that can lead to severe health issues in infants and even death if left untreated. The rate of congenital syphilis in San Diego County has increased by nearly 1,200% since 2013.

It is crucial for pregnant individuals to get tested for syphilis during their first and third trimester prenatal visits, as treatment during pregnancy can protect the baby from the infection. Sexual partners of individuals with syphilis should also be tested and treated to prevent further transmission.

Syphilis can have mild symptoms or be mistaken for other health conditions, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics, even during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis in babies can lead to bone abnormalities, severe anemia, organ enlargement, and brain and nerve problems like vision or hearing loss.

Public health centers in San Diego County offer testing for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases to help prevent the spread of infections and protect the health of pregnant individuals and their babies. Nationwide, cases of syphilis, including congenital syphilis, have been on the rise since the early 2000s.

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