16 Feb Syphilis and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes Rising Sharply in US
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Irene A. Stafford, M.S., M.D.
Associate Program Director Maternal – Fetal Medicine Fellowship
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: We have observed disproportionately high-rates syphilis in the US over the last several years, and here in Texas. As this is now leading to health alerts in our cities, it is key we bring attention to this infection regarding risks to the pregnant patient and her fetus.
Syphilis carries a nearly 40% neonatal mortality rate, so testing and treating is key in preventing this devastating neonatal infection. We need to encourage and offer testing at intake to pregnancy care, and any time a patient desires to be tested for STI.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Although almost all STI are increasing among pregnant women in our region of the US during the pandemic, only syphilis is significantly so. Through this report, we see that STI associated adverse perinatal outcomes are significantly higher among women with syphilis and that sadly, women with COVID-19 were significantly more likely to have syphilis and these poor obstetrical and neonatal outcomes.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Syphilis is increasing in the US, and we need to focus efforts on educating the public about this important perinatal infection. Testing and treatment should be a priority for all providers who care for pregnant patients. Destigmatizing STI is a great start to increase testing and standardized recommendations in the US should be considered.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future studies should include investigations regarding access to care issues and available testing sites in high prevalence zones along with barriers to testing.
Stafford IA, Coselli JO, Wilson DF, Wang CY, Sibai BM. Comparison of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Adverse Perinatal Outcomes in Underserved Pregnant Patients Before vs During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Texas. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(2):e220568. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.0568
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