In recent years, San Diego County Public Health officials have been urging pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant to get screened for syphilis. The number of babies born with syphilis in the county has steadily increased, reaching a record 35 cases in 2022. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact or from mother to baby during pregnancy. If left untreated, it can lead to severe health problems in newborns and even death.

Cases of congenital syphilis in the county have been on the rise since 2013, with 35 reported in 2022, up from 30 cases in 2021. This includes two stillbirths. It’s crucial for pregnant women to be tested for syphilis during prenatal visits, especially during the first and third trimesters, as treatment during pregnancy can protect the baby from infection.

Syphilis may have mild symptoms or be mistaken for other medical conditions, but it can be effectively treated with antibiotics, even during pregnancy. Sexual partners of people with syphilis should also be tested and treated to prevent further transmission. Congenital syphilis in babies can lead to bone abnormalities, severe anemia, enlarged organs, and brain and nerve problems such as vision or hearing loss.

Nationwide, cases of syphilis have been on the rise since the early 2000s, although there has been a slight decrease from 2021 to 2022. Testing for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases is available at county public health centers to prevent spread of infections and protect the health of pregnant women and their babies.

It’s important for expectant mothers to understand the risks associated with congenital syphilis and take action to protect themselves and their unborn babies. Talking to healthcare providers about getting screened for syphilis is just one way to do this. By taking proactive steps now, we can help reduce the incidence of congenital syphilis and ensure that all babies are born healthy.

By Samantha Johnson

As a dedicated content writer at, I immerse myself in the art of storytelling through words. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for crafting engaging narratives, I strive to captivate our audience with each piece I create. Whether I'm covering breaking news, delving into feature articles, or exploring thought-provoking editorials, my goal remains constant: to inform, entertain, and inspire through the power of writing. Join me on this journalistic journey as we navigate through the ever-evolving media landscape together.

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