The Centers for Disease Control is reporting an alarming rise in congenital syphilis, which occurs when women with syphilis do not get tested and treated. This can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, and lifelong disabilities.
Newly released data from the CDC shows 3,700 babies were born with this affliction in 2022, the most recent reporting year. That is 10 times the number born in 2012, yet nearly 90% of STD/STI cases could have been prevented with testing and treatment.
The CDC is urging public health leaders and healthcare providers to take action, including:
- Using rapid STD and STI testing during pregnancy
- Starting treatment right away following a positive test during pregnancy.
- Screen women and partners in counties with high syphilis rates and others at high risk.
According to the CDC, one of the biggest risk factors is where people live. Data shows about 70% of the population lives in counties with high rates of syphilis among reproductive-age women. The highest rates in Colorado occur in Pueblo County, which reported 112.9 cases for every 100,000. The CDC recommends STD/STI testing of all sexually active people aged 15-44 in these Colorado counties based on higher rates of occurrence:
- El Paso
- La Plata