NewsDesk @bactiman63

The prevalence of syphilis in Paraguay remains high, despite the existence of efficient prophylactic measures, such as the use of condoms, and also effective and cheap therapeutic options, health officials note.

In 2021, 7,902 people with syphilis were registered in the country, a 19% percent increase in cases compared to 2020. 64% (5,065) of the people with positive results for syphilis were female, 36% (2,837) corresponded to the male population. The high number of women may be due to greater use of the health service during or outside of pregnancy.

49.71% of the people diagnosed were between 25 and 49 years of age, followed by 32.69% among those between 15 and 24 years of age. While, 9.77% of the cases were registered in the group of 0 to 14 years and 7.83% in the age group of 50 years and over.

Syphilis can be easily cured with antibiotics (penicillin).

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From 2017 to 2021, 27,068 diagnosed cases of syphilis were reported, with an incidence rate of 36.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. The considerable growth in recent years may be due to an increase in the tests offered to key populations and pregnant women who come to the service.

Capital and the health regions of Central, Alto Paraná, Canindeyú, San Pedro, Caaguazú and Itapúa were the ones with the highest number of people with positive results for syphilis.

Syphilis in pregnant women

Cases were detected in 72% of women who attended prenatal care services and syphilis tests were performed, that is, in 104,560 of 144,877 pregnant women, according to data from 2021. In this same period, only 52% of the cases performed the treatment.

The percentage of congenital syphilis is 0.5% in the national territory. Congenital syphilis can be easily prevented through early detection and timely and adequate treatment of pregnant women with the infection.

About 50% of pregnant women with untreated syphilis transmit the infection to their child before birth. Approximately 40% of babies born to untreated pregnant women with syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection.

Complications that can occur in pregnant women diagnosed with syphilis without treatment are: abortion, fetal death, IUGR, non-immune fetal hydrops, premature birth, neonatal death.

Syphilis: transmission and prevention

Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum, which results in substantial morbidity and mortality. It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is generally transmitted by contact with infectious sores on the genitals, anus, rectum, lips, or mouth; through blood transfusions, or through mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy.

The correct and consistent use of condoms significantly reduces the risk of infection.

Mother-to-child transmission of syphilis (congenital syphilis) is preventable and can be achieved through early detection and treatment.

Women of childbearing age and pregnant women should be tested for syphilis and other STIs (HIV, Hepatitis B), as well as their sexual partners, to reduce the incidence of these sexually transmitted infections and achieve the birth of healthy children. Testing is free and available at health services.