TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their annual STD Surveillance report for 2018, showing that the number of babies born with congenital syphilis is higher than it has been in 20 years.
The report also ranked Kansas as 15th in the nation for the number of congenital syphilis cases reported.
“So it’s truly important that mothers get tested and screened, and any pregnant women get screened for syphilis at their very first prenatal visit,” said Craig Barnes, Division Manager of the Community Health Outreach and Planning Program for the Shawnee County Health Department.
Barnes recommends women practice safe sex, and to discuss doing so with their sexual partners. He also encourages women to frequently be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI).
Shawnee County has seen a significant increase in the amount of STI cases occurring, according to Barnes.
The health department is collaborating with community groups, such as Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods, as part of their 2020-2022 Shawnee County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).
One of the things this plan will focus on is finding and implementing strategies that reduce the burden of STIs in Shawnee County.
In 2018, Shawnee County had one case of congenital syphilis, according to Barnes. Since October 1, there have been no cases reported for 2019.