Cases of adult and congenital syphilis spikes in Wisconsin, including Brown Co.

Local News

(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has found that cases of adult and congenital syphilis are on the rise, with the highest rate taking place in Milwaukee.

The number of people diagnosed in Milwaukee has increased by 300% since before the pandemic. Most of these cases are in females of reproductive ages.

“The spike in syphilis cases is alarming,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for Bureau of Communicable Diseases. “We are especially concerned with cases of congenital syphilis affecting babies born to mothers with syphilis. Congenital syphilis can have devastating consequences but is preventable with simple screening, early detection, and treatment.”

Per CDC guidelines, pregnant people should be screened twice for syphilis during pregnancy if they live in a high-risk area.

The DHS has identified these six counties where third trimester testing is recommended based on increased syphilis rates during 2020:

  • Brown
  • Dane
  • Milwaukee
  • Racine
  • Waukesha
  • Winnebago

For more information, see the Wisconsin DHS Health Alert.

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