The cases of sexually transmitted diseases in California climbed to a new record high in 2017, and officials are especially alarmed by the dramatic spike in the incidence of stillbirths from syphilis, according to the most recent state health officials reports.
Over 300,000 cases of chlamydia, early syphilis and gonorrhea have been registered in 2017. This means a 45% spike in the STDs incidence in California, in comparison to 2012, as reported by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
There are also higher rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia amongst people younger than 30, said the research report. On the other hand, the chlamydia incidence is increased in younger women, while men are most often diagnosed with syphilis and/or gonorrhea.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in sterility, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic pain when they are not treated. Syphilis, on the other hand, may lead to blindness, hearing impairment, and brain damage.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) caused the highest stillbirth rate in about 25 years
The most alarming statistic to the investigators and officials was the stillbirths occurrence due to hereditary syphilis in California, which represents the largest number of stillborn children recorded since 1995, according to the California Department of Public Health. Los Angeles County on its own experienced a dramatic surge in syphilis in congenital form, from the only 8 cases registered in 2013 to 47 cases reported in 2017.
“It’s a shame for California to have a steady increase in cases of congenital syphilis,” explained Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“We have known how to control syphilis since the early 1900s. Seeing such a resurgence is indicative of a public health failure,” added Klausner.
Klausner claimed that the general surge in STDs is mostly caused by the crippling of the Californian public health infrastructure after the financial crisis which hit the world in 2008.
The funds directed to the health infrastructure development has been cut off ten years ago and since then the sexual education and treatment clinics have not recovered to their before-crisis level and, now, the results are now felt as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) reached a new record high in 2017, in California.