More than 3,700 babies in the United States were born with syphilis in 2022, which was more than 10 times the number in 2012, according to new data released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The increase in newborn syphilis follows rising syphilis cases among women of reproductive age combined with social and economic factors that create barriers to high-quality prenatal care, and ongoing declines in the prevention infrastructure and resources, according to CDC.
Syphilis during pregnancy can cause tragic outcomes, like miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, and lifelong medical issues. Newborn syphilis occurs when mothers do not receive timely testing and treatment during pregnancy, said CDC.
“The congenital syphilis crisis in the United States has skyrocketed at a heartbreaking rate,” said CDC Chief Medical Officer Debra Houry. “New actions are needed to prevent more family tragedies. We’re calling on healthcare providers, public health systems, and communities to take additional steps to connect mothers and babies with the care they need.”