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Texas ranks fourth in babies born with syphilis, more than doubled from last year

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 18:54:22-04

In the past four years, cases of congenital syphilis have more than doubled since 2013. Texas is now ranked the nation’s fourth highest, according to an annual sexually transmitted disease surveillance report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported cases jumped from 362 in 2013 to 918 in 2017 and it is noted as the highest number of recorded cases in 20 years.

While 37 states reported to at least one case of congenital syphilis, five states, including Texas, accounted for 70 percent of all the cases.

The other four states included Florida, California, Louisiana and Nevada.

Louisiana ranks number one nationally in cases of congenital syphilis.

“When passed to a baby, syphilis can result in miscarriage, newborn death, and severe lifelong physical and mental health problems,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “No parent should have to bear the death of a child when it would have been prevented with a simple test and safe treatment.”

To reduce the number of babies born with syphilis, pregnant women are told to visit a health care provider as soon as possible during every pregnancy and to be tested for syphilis.

Syphilis during pregnancy is easily cured with the right antibiotics. If left untreated, a pregnant woman with syphilis has an 80 percent chance of passing it on to her baby, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends that women at high risk for syphilis, or who live in high-prevalence areas, should be tested not only at the first prenatal visit, but again early in the third trimester and at delivery.

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