New data from the Provincial Congress of Infectology shows that the number of congenital syphilis cases in the province has risen by 68 percent in 2021 compared to last year.
So far this year, 358 babies were born in Córdoba with congenital syphilis. This compares with 213 cases were reported in 2020. The difference between 2021 and 2019 is even more stark –377 percent compared to 2019 (when 75 were registered).
According to official data, the rate of congenital syphilis this year stood at 16.21 new cases per thousand live births, a number much higher than that reported in previous years: 7.7 in 2017, 5.93 in 2018, 2.96 in 2019 and 9.64 percent in 2020.
Why the significant increase? Doctors say it is a multicausal phenomenon. On the one hand, it increased surveillance, notification and detection of cases. On the other hand, the circulation of syphilis has been growing in the region. One of the explanations could be the decrease in condom use, especially in young people.
Congenital syphilis is an infectious disease transmitted by an infected mother to her baby in the womb. Adults transmit syphilis through sexual contact but mothers can transmit the infection to their baby in the womb or through the birthing process. The disease can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, death shortly after birth, prematurity and birth defects. A woman can be treated and cured for syphilis during pregnancy, but it is important for women to be tested in time for treatment to be effective. Babies who test positive for syphilis at birth must be treated immediately to prevent serious health issues.
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