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Congenital Syphilis Cases Surge 31.7% in the United States, Urgent Need for Prevention

Missed Opportunities in Testing and Treatment Blamed for 88% of Cases, National Crisis Worsens

Congenital syphilis cases in the United States have risen by a staggering 31.7% in 2022, with 3,761 reported cases, according to a new study by the CDC. The alarming trend highlights a pressing need to address missed opportunities for preventing this potentially devastating disease. Congenital syphilis can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, infant death, and maternal and infant morbidity, but these outcomes can be prevented through appropriate screening and treatment during pregnancy.

Key Findings:

  • In 2022, the United States reported 3,761 cases of congenital syphilis, including 231 stillbirths and 51 infant deaths.
  • Lack of timely testing and adequate treatment during pregnancy contributed to a staggering 88% of congenital syphilis cases.
  • The increase in congenital syphilis mirrors a 676% rise in primary and secondary syphilis cases in women of reproductive age during 2012-2021.
  • Missed opportunities for prevention were present across all races, ethnicities, and U.S. Census Bureau regions.
  • No prenatal care was documented in 37.9% of infants with congenital syphilis.


The surge in congenital syphilis cases signals a national crisis, with substantial disparities in testing and treatment across different regions and demographic groups. To reverse this trend, public health experts emphasize the critical need for tailored strategies at the local and national levels to ensure timely testing and appropriate treatment during pregnancy. Additionally, improving access to prenatal care and expanding screening for syphilis outside traditional prenatal care settings can help identify and treat affected individuals, preventing both congenital syphilis and maternal morbidity.

The study underscores the urgency of addressing missed opportunities in the fight against congenital syphilis and serves as a call to action for healthcare providers, policymakers, and the public to prioritize prevention and ensure that all expectant mothers receive the necessary screening and treatment to protect themselves and their newborns.

Source&Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)

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