PHOENIX – The rate of babies born in Maricopa County with syphilis has doubled in the last two years, a worrying trend that Arizona health officials want to reverse.
More than two dozen children born last year had the sexually transmitted disease transmitted to their mother's womb. Of the 30, five died as a result of the infection.
"The increase in congenital syphilis rates is directly attributable to an increase in syphilis in men and women and a failure to screen for syphilis during pregnancy," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Director of Control of Diseases. diseases at Maricopa County Health. Press release.
The department's documentation shows that the largest populated county in Arizona is 60% higher than the national average for congenital syphilis.
Congenital syphilis can cause babies to develop health problems such as deformed bones, brain and nervous problems, blindness, meningitis and severe anemia.
Arizona law requires syphilis testing to be done at the first prenatal visit or the first medical visit of the expectant mother.
Sunenshine said doctors should be more diligent when screening patients.
"Syphilis can be treated and cured with just penicillin, but you should know that it is there to treat it," she said.
The congenital form of the STD can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths, death shortly after childbirth and low birth weight.