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).

(Infographic courtesy of the 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 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.