DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County Health District is warning pregnant women about the dangers of contracting syphilis.
Emily Hoisington, BSN, RN Darke County, said Darke County has not experienced any syphilis cases this year.
“Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease and if left untreated in pregnant women it can be passed on to the baby at any time during the pregnancy,” she said. “Congenital syphilis can lead to stillbirth, neonatal death and significant morbidity in infants, such as bone deformities and neurological impairment.”
From 2008 to 2012, the number of congenital cases steadily declined. However, from 2012 to 2016 they increased from 8.4 to 15.7 cases per 100,000 live births, representing an increase of 87 percent.
During this time, national rates of syphilis increased among women of reproductive age.
Hoisington recommends all pregnant women get tested for syphilis at their first prenatal appointment and again at 28 weeks gestation.
“As an infection disease nurse, I feel it is important for our pregnant population to be aware that this problem is out there so they can make informed decisions regarding their health care as well as that of their babies,” she said. “I encourage all pregnant women to ask their OB-GYN if they are being tested for syphilis. Prevention is key.”
For further information, visit the Darke County Health District website at darkecountyhealth.org or contact the agency by phone at 937-548-4196.