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Congenital Syphilis

Person holding a stethoscope on a pregnant woman's belly.Congenital syphilis (CS) is an infection transmitted from pregnant person to child during pregnancy and/or delivery caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. CS can cause severe illness in infants including premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, blindness, and hearing loss. It can also lead to stillbirth and infant death. Tests and treatment for pregnant people are readily available.

Over the last several years, California has experienced a steep increase in syphilis among females and CS. From 2011 to 2020, female early syphilis cases increased over 1,181% and CS cases increased over 950%, from 46 cases in 2011 to 483 cases in 2020. This is the highest number of reported CS cases since 1992 when 522 cases were reported. In 2020, most CS cases were reported from Central and Southern California; however an increasing number of counties throughout California are reporting CS cases; 39 of California's 61 counties reported at least once case of CS in 2020. Most pregnant females who gave birth to infants with CS received prenatal care late in pregnancy or not at all.

Included below are CS specific resources for providers, local health jurisdictions, field investigation, and the public + CS data and surveillance information. General information on syphilis can be found on the California Department of Public Health STD Control Branch syphilis webpage.

Resources for Providers

Resources for Field Investigation

Resources for the Public

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