Cases are Rising
Congenital syphilis infections are on the rise in North Carolina.
Congenital syphilis is PREVENTABLE by early detection and rapid treatment of the mother's infection.
NCDHHS is working to improve access to syphilis testing, as well as community awareness about this growing epidemic, so that pregnant women and the people who love them have access to information and treatment.
North Carolina Case Review Findings
Findings from a review of congenital syphilis cases in North Carolina from 2016 to 2022 indicate infants end up with congenital syphilis when:
- There is no or late entry of pregnant women into prenatal care.
- There was prenatal care but incomplete syphilis testing during pregnancy.
- Mother received delayed, no, or inadequate treatment for her stage of syphilis infection.
- The exposed newborn was not appropriately evaluated or treated at birth for congenital syphilis.
Increase in congenital syphilis cases in 2022
As a clinician, you play an important role in preventing congenital syphilis. Here's how you can do your part:
- Complete a sexual health history for all your patients.
- Test all pregnant women for syphilis at the first prenatal visit, between 28-30 weeks gestation, AND at delivery (this is required by NC state law).
- Treat patients with syphilis immediately and per the CDC STI treatment guidelines. If you do not have access to benzathine penicillin, contact your local health department immediately.
- Advise your patients to notify all sex partners of their exposure to prevent re-infection. People can anonymously notify sex partners using TellYourPartner.org.
- Know mother’s delivery syphilis test results before the newborn goes home.
- Immediately report syphilis and congenital syphilis infections to Public Health.