CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports congenital syphilis (CS) cases have increased by 700% in the state from 2017 to 2021.
CS occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection on to her unborn baby, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CS can have major impacts on a baby’s health, depending on duration of the infection and if or when the mother has been treated. CS can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight or death shortly after birth. Babies born with CS may have deformation, severe anemia, enlarged organs, neurological issues and skin rashes.
The CDC recommends pregnant women get tested for syphilis at three different points during pregnancy and receive penicillin treatment immediately if they test positive.
Where can West Virginians get tested?
West Virginians can get tested for syphilis by their personal health care provider, local health departments, community clinics and some urgent care facilities. Listed below are resources to find those locations.
- The DHHR has a list on its website of each county health department and their location, hours, phone number and website.
- The DHHR also has a complete list of approved sexually transmitted infection testing sites in the state.
- The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia in Charleston offers syphilis testing and more. Individuals without insurance may qualify for free STI testing and treatment at the center. Call (304) 344-9834 to learn more.
The CDC reports that CS has been on the rise not only in West Virginia, but across the nation. View the CDC’s fact sheets on syphilis and CS to learn more about transmission, symptoms, treatment and prevention.