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Issue Brief: Congenital Syphilis

Issue Brief: Congenital Syphilis

Governors play a crucial role in shaping policies that can effectively address congenital syphilis rates, promoting the health and well-being of mothers and infants across the United States.


Congenital syphilis poses a significant public health challenge in the United States, affecting maternal and child populations. This issue brief provides an overview of what congenital syphilis is, its impact on mothers and infants, and the importance of early screening and treatment. Additionally, it discusses policy considerations for Governors to address the rising incidence and highlights the public health implications of neglecting the surge of congenital syphilis.

Between 2015 and 2019, there was a nearly 30 percent increase in syphilis cases across the U.S. Specifically, congenital syphilis rates escalated by 582 percent over the last decade. Congenital syphilis rose most among Medicaid beneficiaries, who experience rates six times higher than patients with private insurance. Between 2020 and 2021, 37 states saw rates continue to rise, resulting in 2,855 reported cases. Of those cases, 220 resulted in stillbirth and infant death.

Infants diagnosed with congenital syphilis may experience a…

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