Syphilis is an epidemic in Arizona


PHOENIX — In Arizona, there is currently a statewide outbreak of syphilis, a bacterial infection that is usually spread by sexual contact. Doctors across the state say the largest increase of syphilis cases is happening in women and newborns.

The most alarming thing about this: A pregnant woman can pass syphilis to her unborn child, and that’s killed eight infants so far in the state.

Bre Thomas runs the Arizona Family Partnership, a network of 28 health clinics across Arizona. She says her care providers are seeing a spike in syphilis and that can be a real danger—especially among pregnant women.

“Syphilis can cause harm to the child that’s she carrying, and that’s why it’s so important to talk about protection,” said Thomas.

The Arizona Department of Health Services released numbers on their website showing syphilis has increased by 256 percent since 2015 in Arizona. In that year, there were 952 cases statewide. By 2017, the numbers skyrocketed to 1,564.

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