1.8 million cases of Chlamydia is up 19% From 2015
616,392 cases of Gonorrhea is up 56% from 2015
129,893 cases of Syphilis is up 74% from 2015
1,870 cases of Congenital Syphilis is up 279% from 2015
Health Editor’s Note: While the numbers of cases of STDs, that have been reported, seem to be so high, the numbers of congenital syphilis have sky-rocketed. What exactly is Congenital syphilis? Congenital syphilis (spirochete Treponema pallidum) is given to the fetus by the mother who became infected with syphilis either before becoming pregnant or while being pregnant. Often times the mother is infected with syphilis during her pregnancy. Why is congenital syphilis a dire health problem? This type of syphilis affected the fetus/new born. Premature birth, stillbirth, or a wide number of clinical manifestations may result from congenital syphilis. But that is not all…..
Symptoms of early congenital syphilis include low birth weight, fever, or skin problem. Other symptoms of early congenital syphilis may be hardening and inflammation of the umbilical cord, high levels of cholesterol, aseptic meningitis, anemia, monocytosis (increase in number of monocyte in circulating blood, shedding of skin on palms of hands and soles of feet, enlarged spleen and liver, jaundice, mental retardation, convulsions, inflammation around the bones which causes sore joints, arms, and legs, inflammation of the nose with infectious nasal discharge, hair loss, inflammation of the iris of the eyes and pneumonia.
In late congenital syphilis, the symptoms of the disease do not usually become apparent until two to five years of age. Occasionally the disease may remain hidden for years with symptoms not being seen until well into adulthood. The signs of late congenital syphilis may be retinitis pigmentosa (a serious eye disease), bone pain, Hutchinson’s triad which is characterized by pegshaped upper central incisors (teeth) and interstitial keratitis which carries blurred vision, eye pain, abnormal sensitivity to light abnormal tearing, saddle nose, high arched palate, short upper jawbone, bony prominence of the forehead, nerve deafness, and fissures (deep lines) around the mouth and anus.
Obviously congenital syphilis affects two people, the mother and baby while the other STDs affect only one person. All pregnant women are at risk to receiving syphilis from a sexual partner. Thus, all pregnant women should be tested as early as possible for syphilis. Since often a women does not receive prenatal care prior to the delivery of her baby, the mother should be tested at the time she gives birth.
Screening for syphilis infection is a two step process with the first being to perform a blood test for: nontreponemal antibody test (VDRL or RPR test) and then a confirming treponemal antibody detection test (fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test or Treponema pallidum particle agglutination test) or a newer alternative, a reverse sequence screening algorithm.
Treatment for syphilis is injections of penicillin G benzathine, but a dire reminder here is that if syphilis is not diagnosed in the perspective mother, then she cannot receive the treatment to cure the syphilis and thus prevent spreading it to her fetus. Effective screening for syphilis and treatment of the pregnant woman as soon as possible, will prevent the ravages that congenital syphilis can bring. Screening of those who are at high risk for contracting syphilis is essential to prevent the maladies that syphilis can cause to the human body…..Carol