Syphilis cases are rising in Arkansas, especially among women
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – The number of Arkansas women diagnosed with syphilis in recent years has nearly tripled.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported Monday that the total number of sexually transmitted infection cases increased 167%, from 592 in 2017 to 1,482 in 2021.
The number of cases among women of childbearing age has increased by 285%, the ADH said.
“Syphilis in pregnant women is of particular concern because of the potential for congenital syphilis,” the ADH reported.
The state saw a 254% increase in congenital syphilis cases between 2017 and 2021. Nine babies died before birth. Among them, five died in 2021.
Among Arkansas counties, Jackson had the highest cases of early syphilis with 29 against a rate of about 174% per 100,000 population.
The ADH encourages residents to get tested and seek treatment, saying syphilis can be treated using medication prescribed by a doctor.
Local health units across the state offer free testing for syphilis and other STIs. For a list of health units and opening hours, Click here.
Syphilis can cause “serious health problems if left untreated,” the ADH warned. “There are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage, ranging from open sores, rashes, and flu-like symptoms to long-term damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.”
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