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Increasing cases of syphilis in Virginia are another bell of a tense public health system.




COVID-19 has monopolized the time and resources of the regional health sector throughout Virginia for over two years.But the virus Uneasy plateauHealth officials are paying attention to another infectious disease that shows amazing growth rates.

Cases of syphilis since at least 2016 — sexually transmitted diseases It was once thought to be on the verge of eradication — Rising across Virginia. According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, cases increased by 158% between 2007 and 2017 and increased again the following year. In 2020 Recently available dataThere were 1,288 new diagnoses of early-stage syphilis, an increase of 228 from just four years ago.

Of further concern is the persistent increase in congenital infections in infants sick from their mothers. Ten years ago, in 2011, there were no cases in Virginia. In 2020, 15 people died, including 5 syphilis stillbirths. Preliminary data for 2021 show another rise, pushing the state to 17 cases, according to Oana Vasiliu, Head of STD Prevention and Monitoring for VDH.

Up to 40% of babies born to untreated syphilis women are stillborn or die shortly after infection.Surviving babies can cause serious health complications, including: Jaundice, severe anemia, blindness.. The rapid spread of the disease over the years has worried public health workers throughout the state, from field experts to top leaders in the department. Dr. Colin Green, Virginia’s newly appointed state health commissioner, has identified syphilis as one of the top priorities after a pandemic.

“It’s hard to believe that congenital cases have revived to the point where they can be seen again,” he said at a meeting earlier this month. “They were probably never seen because they were taught in medical school and were so rare before.”

Although the numbers may seem small, experts say they can mask the seriousness of the increase in Fact sheet for healthcare providers, VDH described all cases of congenital syphilis as “sentinel events representing public health failures.” Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious disease specialist at UVA’s Ryan White HIV Clinic, said the disease was so easy to test and treat.


..(Virginia Mercury)

Virginia Mercury is a new, non-partisan, non-profit news agency that covers Virginia’s government and policies.

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