How to Stop Congenital Syphilis Surge

Clinical resources from CDC

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CDC Letterhead

February 20, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that congenital syphilis (CS) cases more than doubled since 2013, with a total of 918 cases in 2017—this marks the highest count in one year since 1997. Increases occurred in every region, and a majority of states have had at least one case. The concerning trend parallels a similar spike in infectious syphilis among women of reproductive age.

CS is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in infants. Historical data indicate that up to 40 percent of pregnancies in women with untreated syphilis will result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. Infants who live may develop severe illness.

How can we stop it? In this NEW Medscape video, I outline specific actions to protect your pregnant patients and their babies.

There are also a number of resources included below to help you promptly diagnose and treat syphilis.

As someone who has stood in your shoes, I know just how much you do – and how hard you work – to keep your patients healthy. So, thank you, for your attention to this urgent public health issue – and for your help protecting mothers and their children from this preventable infection.


Dr. Laura Bachmann

Laura H. Bachmann, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, Division of STD Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Stay in touch with the Division of STD Prevention by following @CDCSTD on Twitter and CDC STD on Facebook.