The Concerning Reversal of Congenital Syphilis Cases in 2021

Syphilis, if left untreated, has the potential to lead to stillbirth and can cause damage to a baby's organs and bones, as well as impair vision and hearing.[0] Unfortunately, in 2021, more than 200 infants in the United States died due to congenital syphilis.[0] This increase in cases is a concerning reversal, as public health efforts and contact-tracing programs had pushed the number of cases to almost historically low levels just a decade ago.

This rise in cases is largely due to the uneven coverage of policies for pregnancies covered by Medicaid. Low-income pregnant women are usually covered for prenatal care and for at least two months after they give birth, however, their male partners may not be. Additionally, in states that have not expanded eligibility for Medicaid, it is difficult for men to get primary care, meaning even if women are diagnosed and treated, their sex partners may not be, thus increasing the potential for reinfection during pregnancy.[0]

0. “This infection is completely preventable in infants if it's caught in time, so why is it on the rise?” WAAY, 1 Mar. 2023,

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