As you may know, syphilis is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. In addition, syphilis can be passed on through the placenta from the mother to her unborn child. This is called congenital syphilis, a potentially life-threatening infection which may also lead to severe birth defects. In this article, we ask, is there a way to prevent congenital syphilis?
What Is Congenital Syphilis?
A mother who’s got syphilis may not even be aware that she’s infected. This is because many sufferers don’t show any symptoms. As a result, when the woman gets pregnant, she may inadvertently pass on the virus to her unborn child. An infected fetus may be stillborn or born with abnormalities.
Undiagnosed babies may suffer serious complications including deafness, blindness, face deformations, as well as nervous system malfunctions.
Congenital Syphilis Prevention
In the US, cases of congenital syphilis have been growing in numbers. Authorities recorded over 600 cases in 2016, the highest figures since 1998. So, if you’re asking, is there a way to prevent congenital syphilis, let’s look at the main preventative measures:
- Introduction of Syphilis Screening of All Pregnant Women: Experts have long been advising screening pregnant women for syphilis early during pregnancy. If the infection is present, antibiotic treatment can prevent it from spreading to the unborn baby.
- Educating Medical Professionals: According to Dr. Sarah Kidd, of the CDC’s division of sexually transmitted disease prevention, many physicians think of syphilis as a disease of years gone by. As a result, they may be less likely to screen pregnant women for this disease.
- Early Screening Is Best: Experts also believe that the earlier the screening and detection, the easier it will be to prevent congenital syphilis.
The World Health Organization has also been asking is there a way to prevent congenital syphilis. This process has culminated in the publication of WHO guidelines for the prevention of congenital syphilis.