Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a pregnant person with syphilis passes the infection on to the fetus during pregnancy. According to CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report 2019 released during STD Awareness Week, in 2019, 128 infants died of congenital syphilis and nearly 2,000 cases were reported. Although most of the cases were reported from a few states, 44 jurisdictions (43 states and the District of Columbia) reported at least one case of congenital syphilis in 2019. The national rate of 48.5 cases per 100,000 live births in 2019 represents a 41.4% increase relative to 2018 and 291.1% increase relative to 2015.
In 2019, the most common missed congenital syphilis prevention opportunity was a lack of adequate maternal syphilis treatment despite receipt of a timely syphilis diagnosis (40.2%). The second most common missed congenital syphilis prevention opportunity in 2019 was a lack of timely prenatal care and subsequent lack of timely syphilis testing (36.3%).
To wrap up STD Awareness Week, NACCHO is highlighting an important data collection effort to maximize our chances of disrupting congenital syphilis, together. NACCHO, in conjunction with CDC, is collecting information on congenital syphilis prevention and control interventions/activities in your county/city. This information collection effort focuses on any intervention(s)/activity across the entire spectrum of prevention of syphilis among persons with childbearing capacity and congenital syphilis. A compendium of responses will be developed and made available to local, state, and federal STD programs to increase peer-to-peer collaboration and improve congenital syphilis prevention efforts.
You can enter information on interventions/activities that were pre-COVID or current, and you can enter information on more than one intervention/activity, regardless of whether the intervention/activity has been evaluated. If you are not the right person to fill out info on your CS efforts, please forward this info to the correct person. The form can be accessed here.
If you have questions about how your community might be able to tackle syphilis rates, feel free to reach out to NACCHO to have a conversation and brainstorm. Otherwise, consider sharing the above survey and the messages below on social media to help raise awareness in your communities about syphilis.