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Syphilis epidemic: 128% increase in illness among Houston women since 2019

Syphilis epidemic: 128% increase in illness among Houston women since 2019
Syphilis epidemic: 128% increase in illness among Houston women since 2019

 




CNN

Houston Health Department announced. syphilis epidemicSince 2019, there has been a 128% increase in congenital cases among women in the city, and a nine-fold increase in congenital cases in Houston and the surrounding Harris County area.

Health officials announced the outbreak in 2019. Thursday’s news release.

The ministry said the number of new cases increased by 57% from 2019 to 2022. There were 1,845 new infections in 2019, but 2,905 in 2022.

According to the announcement, 674 women will be infected in 2022, up from 295 in 2019. There were also 151 cases of congenital syphilis in 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available, compared to just 16 cases in 2016.

congenital syphilis It occurs when a pregnant woman passes a bacterial infection to her baby in the womb. Untreated congenital syphilis can lead to stillbirth and damage to the baby’s organs and bones.

“Prenatal care and syphilis testing should help pregnant women protect themselves against infections that can lead to fetal death,” said Marlene McNeice Ward, assistant director of the Houston Department of Health’s HIV/STIs Division. that is extremely important,” he said. Prevention of viral hepatitis, news release. “Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis three times during pregnancy.”

According to the announcement, pregnant women should be tested for syphilis at the first prenatal visit, in the third trimester of pregnancy, and at the time of delivery.

The health ministry will waive all fees for sexually transmitted infections at health centers, according to the announcement.

In addition, the ministry will “expand the use of HIV/STD mobile clinics to increase the number of local testing facilities, and place them in areas considered hotspots selected for disease monitoring and case management data.” stated in the release.

Syphilis is Bacterial infection It is commonly transmitted through sexual contact. The disease usually begins with a painless sore on the genitals or mouth. Direct contact with the wound spreads the infection.

If detected early, syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics. But if untreated, the infection can lie dormant in the body for years, even decades, before attacking the brain, nerves, eyes, and other organs. Deafness, blindness, and death can result.

Congenital syphilis is on the rise across the United States, especially in the South and Southwest. Newborn infections have increased nearly 700% nationwide in the past decade, according to CDC officials. previously told CNN. Experts attribute the increase to a combination of factors, including a lack of public funding for sexual health programs, a shortage of qualified personnel, and uneven coverage of Medicaid screening.

Because syphilis has no obvious symptoms in its early stages, pregnant women and their health care providers may be unaware of syphilis or may not be tested at all.

Sources

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2/ https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/15/health/houston-syphilis-outbreak/index.html

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