Congenital Syphilis Cases Expected to Double in Travis County, According to Austin Public Health
Travis County, Texas – Congenital syphilis cases in Travis County are projected to double in the years 2022 and 2023, according to a report by Austin Public Health (APH). This follows a concerning increase of approximately 40% in cases from 2018 to 2021, with eight cases reported in 2018 and 11 in 2021.
The severity of the situation is underscored by recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealing that the number of babies born with syphilis in the United States in 2022 exceeded 3,700. This staggering figure is a shocking ten times higher than in 2012. Moreover, the CDC estimates that close to 90% of these cases could have been prevented, highlighting the urgent need for increased awareness and preventative measures.
Congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby. The consequences can be devastating, including miscarriage, premature birth, and even death. Texas specifically accounted for almost a quarter of all congenital syphilis cases reported in the US in 2021, ranking fifth among states with the highest rates of the disease.
In response to this growing crisis, APH is urging all sexually active individuals to get tested for their sexual health status. Meanwhile, the CDC recommends that pregnant women undergo testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during their pregnancy to identify and treat potential cases of syphilis.
Alarming statistics from the CDC indicate that nearly 40% of congenital syphilis cases in 2022 were among mothers who did not receive prenatal care. It is crucial for expectant mothers to prioritize their health and seek proper medical attention to ensure the well-being of both mother and child.
Although there is currently no cure for syphilis, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) advises that benzathine penicillin G is the only effective treatment during pregnancy. Adequate treatment can prevent congenital syphilis with a remarkable 98% success rate, offering hope for expectant mothers confronted with this alarming disease.
The escalating rates of congenital syphilis in Travis County and throughout the US demand immediate action. Heightened awareness, proactive testing, and access to appropriate medical care are vital in the fight against this preventable and potentially devastating condition. By working together to prioritize sexual health and prenatal care, we can safeguard the well-being of future generations.