Mississippi sees rise in syphilis cases in newborns – NBC Chicago

The number of babies in Mississippi being treated for congenital syphilis has jumped more than 900% in five years, uprooting the progress made by the nation’s poorest state by nearly reversing what experts say is a public health crisis. avoidable. The rise in cases has put newborns at additional risk of life-threatening harm in a state that is already home to the nation’s worst infant death rate.

In 2021, 102 newborns in Mississippi were treated for the sexually transmitted disease, up from 10 in 2016, according to an analysis of hospital billing data shared by Dr. Thomas Dobbs, medical director of the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Crossroads Clinic. in Jackson. , which focuses on sexually transmitted infections.

Dobbs, the former state health official, said he spoke to health care providers who “are absolutely horrified” that babies are being born with the disease and, in rare cases, dying from it. .

“This seems like something that should have happened a hundred years ago, not last year,” said Dobbs, who is also dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “There really is a kind of shock.”

The Mississippi State Health Department does not officially track congenital syphilis deaths, but said at least one baby died in 2021.

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NBC Chicago

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