Congenital syphilis awareness: Prevention and treatment

Congenital syphilis occurs in the womb when mothers infected with syphilis pass the disease onto their unborn child. If left untreated, congenital syphilis can cause birth defects, stillbirth and neonatal mortality. Congenital syphilis is preventable and can be treated with antibiotics if detected early.

The Florida Department of Health recently announced an increase in the number of cases of congenital syphilis in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Only four incidences of congenital syphilis were reported in Northeast Florida from 2009 to 2011, all four were reported in Duval County.

Routine screening for syphilis in pregnant women is encouraged. It is recommended that pregnant women receive testing for syphilis at their first prenatal care visit and again at 28-32 weeks.

Health care facilities in Northeast Florida that provide syphilis testing:

For more information about congenital syphilis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s STD & Pregnancy Fact Sheet.