Congenital Syphilis Cases Increased 30% Without a Preventive Vaccine
The latest data released by the U.S. government offers the most complete insights for nationally notifiable Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
On January 30, 2024, the U.S. CDC published an annual report underscoring that STIs must be a public health priority.
In 2022, more than 2.5 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were reported in the U.S.
One of these STIs was highlighted by the CDC.
Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy. CS impacts babies' health depending on how long the mother had syphilis and if treatment was received.
CS can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or being born early.
The CDC reported that CS cases increased by 30% last year.
More than 3,700 cases of congenital syphilis were documented among newborns in 2022.
In response to the surging number of syphilis and congenital syphilis cases nationwide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is taking action to slow the spread with a focus on those most significantly impacted.
Through the establishment of the National Syphilis and Congenital Syphilis Syndemic Federal Task Force, the Department is utilizing its agencies, its expertise, and its stakeholder network to respond to the U.S. syphilis and congenital syphilis epidemic.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra commented in a press release, "These actions we are taking will help ensure we are improving outcomes for birthing parents and newborns."
"We must prevent more deaths caused by congenital syphilis, an entirely preventable disease."
As of January 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved a syphilis prevention vaccine.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funds cooperative vaccine research centers (CRCs) to advance the development of syphilis vaccine concepts.
In their pursuit of a syphilis vaccine, the CRCs are investigating the structure of proteins on the outer membrane layer of T. pallidum bacteria as potential vaccine targets and developing a tri-antigen vaccine.