NewsDesk @bactiman63

North Carolina health officials report syphilis cases are on the rise in the state. Cases increased 23% from 2021 to 2022.

North Carolina map/ National Atlas of the United States

The increase is attributed to several factors, including partners not being tested for STIs prior to sexual encounters and lack of condom use.

Cases among women jumped from 360 in 2019 to 837 in 2022, a 133% increase, according to preliminary data. This increase in syphilis infections among women is also causing an increase in syphilis in babies, called congenital syphilis (CS). Congenital syphilis increased 31% in 2022 (55 cases) compared with 2021 (42 cases). In 2012, there was one reported case of congenital syphilis.

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“Congenital syphilis is preventable through the early detection and treatment of maternal infection during pregnancy,” said Victoria Mobley, M.D., HIV/STD Medical Director at the NCDHHS Division of Public Health. “Providers can prevent congenital syphilis, and the potential effects such as miscarriage and stillbirth, by testing at three points during pregnancy and providing timely treatment.”

North Carolina public health law requires health care providers to screen all pregnant women for syphilis during the first prenatal visit, between 28-30 weeks’ gestation and at delivery to ensure identification, treatment and prevention of congenital syphilis.