New Mexico has one of the highest increases
For absolutely no reason, all these diseases we effectively eradicated decades or centuries ago are returning!
What could be the cause???
Health advocates are calling on the Biden administration to declare a public health emergency over a steep rise in congenital syphilis cases. The easily treated infection has quintupled in 10 years and can have harrowing impacts on children.
Congenital syphilis happens when a baby contracts syphilis from its mother. Up to 40% of babies born to untreated mothers will be stillborn or die. Others can be left with severe birth defects such as bone damage, anemia, blindness or deafness, and “neurological devastation”.
“There is not a single baby that should be born in the US with syphilis,” David Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the Guardian. “We will be judged very severely as a country and a society for allowing this to happen to babies, when it is so easy to diagnose, treat and prevent this disease.”
Rates of the disease have reached a nearly 30-year high just as supplies of the preferred medication, called Bicillin L-A, are in short supply. Syphilis can be cured with between one and three shots of the medication.
Problematically, it also means others must rely on doxycycline, an antibiotic that must be taken twice daily for at least 14 days, a schedule some patients will struggle to adhere to.
Who struggles to take a pill twice a day? Seriously, who has trouble doing that?
I want to know.
What kind of person struggles with that?
Men who have sex with men are more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis. As a result, the Bicillin shortage is most likely to hit the LGBTQ+ community hardest.
“This is a direct reflection of an ailing public health system,” said Harvey. “We have the highest sexually transmitted infection rates in the western industrialized world, and it is a crisis in the US.”
Syphilis is among a group of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) tracked by the government – including chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV – all of which are on the rise. From 2020-2021, amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the US saw a 30.5% increase in congenital syphilis cases.
The dramatic increase is not due to the pandemic alone. Syphilis was nearly eradicated in the early 1990s, as the HIV epidemic raised public awareness of the perils of STIs, but the disease has made a return amid stagnant and siloed public health funding.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that the administration had already “established a federal taskforce dedicated to spearheading a national syphilis and congenital syphilis public health response” earlier this year, and that the taskforce had a mission to address the intertwined issues, “reduce their rates, and promote health equity”. The taskforce is also prioritizing “technical assistance and other resources” for a dozen of the most hard-hit places in the US.
A White House spokesperson said the administration remained focused on “critical supply chains” and has already issued five executive orders with the goal of strengthening them.
“This work to strengthen pharmaceutical supply chains is a continuation of the work that began on day one of President Biden’s administration to ensure Americans can access the medicine they need when they need it,” a White House spokesperson told the Guardian.
However, public health officials in the regions hardest hit believe more needs to be done to address a “spike” in cases that may only be the beginning. Mississippi’s high rate of congenital syphilis has received particular attention, thanks to the research of Drs Manuela Staneva, Charlotte V Hobbs and Thomas Dobbs.
“It is a national issue, and I think our work on this issue in Mississippi is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dobbs, the dean of the John D Bower School of Population Health at the University of Mississippi medical center. Dobbs said the situation was “absolutely” a public health emergency, though he stopped short of calling for an official declaration.
Mississippi is the blackest of any state
“There need to be national efforts, whatever construct,” he said.
In 2021, US rates of congenital syphilis reached 77 cases for every 100,000 live births, or 2,855 cases. By comparison, the United Kingdom reported 11 cases in five years from 2014 to 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. Because the UK had no cases in 2019, its effective rate is 0 per 100,000, according to the World Health Organization.
At the same time, the US national rate obscures wildly uneven regional distribution of congenital syphilis in the US. Babies in the south-west and deep south – representing border states and states where healthcare is most difficult to access – are born with rates of congenital syphilis far higher than those in the rest of the country.
No, it’s not – it’s fucking black people and immigrants.
The “white race” on this chart is Mexicans.
Look at this:
The national rate also obscures places where there are few cases of syphilis – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Wyoming have all but eliminated congenital syphilis. Each has had zero or just one case in five years.
The numbers are offset by places that are 100% white.
It’s not complicated.
There is no mystery here.
Brown people have very bad sexual hygiene and so they spread diseases that we’ve virtually eradicated all over the place.
That’s the news story.
Expect things to get worse