CDC reports ‘alarming’ number of syphilis cases in US

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an “alarming” resurgence of syphilis cases nationwide. The CDC’s final figures for 2022 released Tuesday are the largest number diagnosed nationwide since the 1950s.

While this is a growing problem, syphilis is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that is treatable, but when left untreated in pregnant women, it can pose significant health risks to an unborn baby, including death.

As of November 2023, there were 31 confirmed cases of congenital syphilis.

On Tuesday, the CDC released in Pennsylvania in 2022 there were 39 cases and nearly 1,400 cases of syphilis across the commonwealth.

The CDC stated on Tuesday there were 207,255 cases of syphilis in the United States in 2022. That’s an 80% increase since 2018.

Cases last peaked nationwide in the 1990s before a years-long decline.

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28/22 News Reporter Julie Dunphy spoke recently with a board-certified and fellowship-trained specialist in pediatric infectious diseases with Geisinger who touches on why we are seeing syphilis cases rise again.

“Sometimes there’s a sore, you know, in early syphilis you know there are other symptoms but, most of the in late in syphilis, there are really no symptoms and so, again, the only risk factor that you have is that you’ve had unprotected sex. The good news is that it’s treatable, and the fact that we are seeing it increase is a testament that our public health system is broken,” said Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician Swathi Gowtham.

According to the CDC, syphilis cases remain disproportionately high, especially among black and american indian populations.

There are local providers that offer free treatment in the document available below.

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Tune in to 28/22 News for the upcoming weekend for a joint reporting project with the Times Leader where we check out one of those free testing sites.

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