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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 2012 to 2021, female early syphilis cases increased over 1,113 percent and CS cases increased 1,500 percent, from 33 cases in 2012 to 528 cases in 2021. This is the highest number of reported CS cases since 1992 when 522 cases were reported. According to the U.S. CDC, California had the 11th highest congenital syphilis rate of all states in 2021. Thirty-seven (60.7 percent) of California’s 61 local health jurisdictions reported at least one case of congenital syphilis in 2021. 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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