The St. Louis region has long grappled with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, but an uptick in syphilis among women of child-bearing age is drawing the concern of public health officials.
In Missouri, 10 cases of congenital syphilis — when the infection is transmitted in the womb — were reported last year. That’s up from just two cases in 2015. Syphilis is treatable with penicillin, but can cause miscarriages, stillbirth and serious health problems if pregnant women do not receive medical care quickly. Men, however, make up the vast majority of cases.