Minnesota, like many states, has seen an overall increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STD) last year and has seen the most congenital syphilis cases ever, according to health officials.

Image/National Atlas of the United States

Ten congenital syphilis cases were reported in 2018, a major increase from two in 2017. This is a rate of 15.1 per 100,000 live births which is the highest Minnesota has ever reported and represents a 400% increase from 2017.

Congenital syphilis (syphilis in a fetus or infant at birth) can cause serious complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, birth defects and infant death. Fortunately, the infection can be prevented with proper screening and treatment during pregnancy, said MDH State Epidemiologist and Medical Director Dr. Ruth Lynfield.

“We are working closely with clinicians, local public health departments, and other community partners to respond to this increase in congenital syphilis,” Lynfield said. “With ongoing increases in congenital syphilis, it is really important that pregnant women are tested for syphilis at least twice during pregnancy, and in some cases, a third time. It is important to diagnosis cases during pregnancy and provide adequate treatment to prevent complications in both the mother and infant.”

Other STD stats for Minnesota include:

Chlamydia cases increased by 2 percent with 23,564 cases in 2018, the number one STD in the state.

Gonorrhea remained the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota with 7,542 cases reported in 2018, a 16% increase.

Overall syphilis cases dropped by 2% with 918 cases in 2018.

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