California state health officials are reporting that for the fifth year in a row, the number of infants born with congenital syphilis has increased.
Tragically, following the national trend, health officials say the number of cases increased from 33 cases in 2012 to 283 cases in 2017.
71 of the infants were stillbirth during this period with 30 stillbirths reported in 2017 alone.
Congenital syphilis is a preventable condition that results from untreated syphilis during pregnancy. Potential consequences for the infected baby include stillbirth, neonatal death, blindness, deafness and skeletal deformations. Fetal transmission can occur during any trimester. Preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes requires early screening and, if positive, immediate treatment at least 30 days before delivery.
The California Department of Public Health says clinicians are urged to test every woman for syphilis once in her first trimester prenatal labs. Women who are at risk should be tested again in the beginning of the third trimester.
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