The Rise of Congenital Syphilis

Congenital syphilis is a disease that occurs when a pregnant person with syphilis passes it onto their baby during pregnancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023). Syphilis can be transmitted to a baby in utero through placental blood flow or through direct contact with lesions during childbirth. Currently, Penicillin is the only treatment from perinatal syphilis because it can cross the placenta to treat the infection in the fetus. When a syphilis infection is identified in the early stages, treatment with Penicillin is 98% effective in preventing mortality and morbidities commonly associated with congenital infection. Cases of congenital syphilis have been on the rise and have increased seven-fold in live births in the United States from 2012 to 2020. In 2021, 2000 cases were reported, the highest number of reported cases since 1994. Increases in cases have highlighted issues including gaps in prevention, timely diagnosis, treatment, and management of perinatal syphilis. The increases in congenital syphilis other STI’s has led to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launching the Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan in January 2021 (Fang et al., 2022). This plan aims to create, enhance, and expand STI prevention among individuals. Through this plan the United States can be a place where STI’s are prevented, and every person has access high-quality prevention, screenings, care, and treatment free of stigma and discrimination (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

For More Information on Congenital Syphilis See the Resources Below: 

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 11). STD facts – Congenital Syphilis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-congenital-syphilis.htm
  • STI National Strategic Plan 2021-2025 (STI plan) Toolkit. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, January 12). https://www.hhs.gov/programs/topic-sites/sexually-transmitted-infections/plan-overview/toolkit/index.html#:~:text=This%20first%2Dever%20STI%20National,free%20from%20stigma%20and%20discrimination.

 Cited Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 11). STD facts – Congenital Syphilis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-congenital-syphilis.htm

Fang, J., Partridge, E., Bautista, G. M., & Sankaran, D. (2022, December 27). Congenital syphilis epidemiology, prevention, and management in the United States: A 2022 update. U.S. National Library of Medicine . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9879571/

Extensively drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa causing infection outbreak.

Infections from a rare extensively drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have been identified in 12 states (CA, CO, CT, FL, NJ, NY, NV, TX, UT, WA, WI). Most of the infections were from patients who reported using artificial tears. Patients reported more than 10 brands of artificial tears, but most patients reported using Ezricare Artificial Tears, an over-the-counter product. Patients who were infected have experienced permanent vision loss resulting from a cornea infection, hospitalization, and one death has been reported due to a systematic infection (CDC, 2023). The University of California at San Diego’s Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics have identified a bacteriophage with activity against the outbreak strain. A minimum inhibitory concentration for aztreonam-avibactam has been identified, however, clinical breakpoints have not been established for antimicrobial combination.

Resources

  • For recommendations from the CDC for Healthcare Providers, Clinical Laboratories, and the Public, visit the link here.
  • Clinicians interested in phage as a potential treatment option should contact IPATH at ipath@health.ucsd.edu.
  • Susceptibility testing for this combination to inform clinical decision making is available through
  • CDC – refer to CDC Test Directory.

Cited Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 1). Health Alert Network (HAN) – 00485. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2023/han00485.asp

New COVID Variants and Boosting Your Immunity (Fall 2022)

Although it’s pumpkin spice season, another pandemic winter is about to arrive. Though no completely new variants of the COVID virus have emerged yet, there are several new Omicron sub-variants. The Omicron variant first surfaced in the fall of 2021, and during the past year, various Omicron variants have primarily been responsible for COVID cases. Now there are some new variants, including BA.4.6, BQ.1, and BQ.1.1, as well as XBB. To answer some of our questions about these new variants we have invited Dr. Suzanne Judd, Director of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to join our podcast.

This podcast is presented by the Alabama Reginal Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance. Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.