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Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach Epidemic levels in California

11 October 2019

Congenital syphilis is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.


"From 2014 to 2018, 23 cases of congenital syphilis were reported; this compares to only 13 cases reported from 1995 to 2013."


The CDC also reports STDs are on the rise in the United States, and cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached an all-time high nationally previous year. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported - also the most since 1991. The agency called a 40% increase in congenital syphilis from 2017 to 2018 "a unsafe trend" and said syphilis in newborns is a tragic effect of what it described as a growing STD epidemic. Those five states together made up almost two-thirds of total cases, although all but 17 states saw increases in their congenital syphilis rates.

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In order to reduce the number of babies born with syphilis, health officials say it's vital that pregnant women be tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reaching a record number of cases.

Additionally, both local and state-level cuts to STD programs have resulted in clinic closures, reduced screenings, staff losses and reduced patient follow-ups and linkage to care and other services, according to Bowen. Contributing to raised risks of HIV infection and to increased healthcare costs, the numbers represent damaging impacts to public, as well as individual, health.

Antibiotics can cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, but the diseases must be caught early and not left untreated. "We've seen some recently bigger jumps and there's a number of factors to which we attribute that", said Michael Kharfen, senior deputy director of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration at the DC Department of Health, who was not involved in the new CDC report.

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Some STDs are becoming resistant to antibiotics previously used to treat them.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released final data on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in California in 2018.

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Reported Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach Epidemic levels in California