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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 2018, female syphilis cases increased nearly 550% and CS cases increased nearly 900%, from 33 cases in 2012 to 329 cases in 2018. In 2018, most CS cases were reported from Central and Southern California; however an increasing number of counties throughout California are reporting their first CS case in years. 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 Field Investigation

Resources for the Public

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