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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Health Department announced an alarming increase in syphilis cases in the county.
This trend is consistent with national data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of cases among women in Salt Lake County has already doubled this year, said Lynn Beltran, epidemiology supervisor for the Salt Lake County Health Department. Beltran also confirmed a total of 278 cases in men and 320 cases in women so far this year.
The county health department released data showing that from 2018 to 2022, Salt Lake County saw an 800% increase in syphilis cases among young women. Of these, 89% of cases were in women of childbearing age between 15 and 44 years.
An increase in that age group means an increased risk of neonatal syphilis in the community. The county has confirmed four cases of congenital syphilis in newborns so far this year.
According to a statement from the health department, “Neononatal syphilis occurs when the mother does not receive timely testing and treatment during pregnancy. Syphilis during pregnancy can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, and neonatal death. , surviving infants who do not receive proper treatment may develop syphilis’ blindness, hearing loss, developmental delay, or skeletal abnormalities. ”
“I’ve been researching pediatric infectious diseases for 35 years,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of epidemiology at Primary Children’s Hospital. “This year, as a group, we evaluated probably 35 to 40 women who had been infected with syphilis during pregnancy.”
“2022 marks the first confirmed case of neonatal syphilis since 2008,” said Dr. Angela C. Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department. “This is especially unfortunate because neonatal syphilis is completely preventable. By ensuring that women have affordable and convenient access to syphilis testing and treatment, as well as appropriate prenatal care, we can prevent the suffering of newborns.” You can search.”
Although not as dramatic as in women, the incidence of syphilis among all people, not just women, has increased in recent years. Overall, from 2018 to 2022, syphilis incidence rates across Salt Lake County increased by 65%.
The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be tested for syphilis during the first trimester, and that those with multiple or anonymous sexual partners should be tested for syphilis at 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the number of partners and their specific circumstances. We recommend that you get tested for syphilis every day.
Officials are also asking health care providers to start treating patients for syphilis immediately if they test positive on a rapid test while waiting for a confirmatory test.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. If left untreated, it can cause serious health problems. Infection progresses in stages, and each stage may have different signs and symptoms. Typical symptoms include unusual skin problems, sores, rashes and bumps, Beltran said. Syphilis is curable with appropriate antibiotics, but treatment may not reverse the damage the infection has already caused.
Click here to learn more about syphilis. CDC.gov.
For testing and other resources in Salt Lake County, visit: SLCO.org.