On Monday, the California Department of Public Health revealed that syphilis among women and newborns has skyrocketed since 2012.
One hundred newborns were found to have contracted the disease in 2014, up from 30 in 2012; early syphilis cases among women reported to the state jumped from 248 in 2012 to 594 in 2014. Six stillbirths resulting from syphilis were reported in 2014; in 2012 there was only one.
The bulk of the congenital cases were found in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Health Department stated that most of the women exhibiting congenital syphilis lacked proper medical treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2013 that although primary and secondary syphilis infections fell by roughly 90 percent between 1990 and 2000, the rate rose after that. The main force driving that increase was gay sex among men; between 2000 and 2004, its estimated proportion of primary and secondary syphilis infections coming from homosexual sex rose from 7% to 64%.
The CDC also reported in 2013 that the number of syphilis cases reported in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area rose from 858 in 2009 to 1299 in 2013, more than a 50% increase.
The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan area far outdistanced the rest of the nation’s metropolitan areas in its rate of syphilis, according to the 2013 report; the rate per 100 population was 18.3. The second-ranked metropolitan area, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, numbered 14.5 per 100, followed by San Antonio-New Braunfels TX, 13.9, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL, 13.2, and three areas tied at 10.5: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, Portland-Vancouver- Hillsboro OR-WA, and San Diego-Carlsbad 10.5.
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ranked eighth at 10.0.