Oklahoma Sees Surge In Syphilis Among Newborns
Mirroring a nationwide trend, the number of babies born with syphilis is on the rise in Oklahoma.
State health officials say there has been a 283 percent increase in the number of congenital syphilis cases since 2014 in Oklahoma, and a 92 percent increase just from last year.
Congenital syphilis is passed from a mother to baby during pregnancy and can lead to miscarriage, newborn death, and severe physical and neurological problems for the rest of the baby's life. Drug use, poverty and stigma all contribute to the rising numbers, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as funding cuts to STD programs at the state level.
Health officials say women need better access to prenatal care, and doctors need to routinely test for syphilis.
Across the U.S. last year, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached an all-time high.