Arizona has seen an increase in syphilis cases – mostly in women and children – since 2015.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there was a 253 percent rise in the average number of monthly cases since that time.
In 2018, there have been 555 female cases of syphilis with 564 partners being treated. This is a real problem for women who are pregnant, as the virus passes onto the unborn baby.
The department suggested all pregnant women talk to their healthcare doctor about getting tested, as timely testing and treatment can mitigate any potential health problems for both the mother and child.
In 2016, 16 babies were born with syphilis – two of them were stillborn. This number doubled in 2017, with 30 babies with syphilis. For 2018, that number has increased to 36 babies; six of those babies died.
Syphilis is curable with a course of antibiotics. However, if not treated, it can cause lifelong complications such as brain, eyes, bones, liver, joints and nerve damage. With pregnant women, there is a possibility of a miscarriage, infant death or stillborn.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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