Congenital syphilis is an infection in a fetus or infant that results from untreated syphilis during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis can lead to stillbirth, infant death, and serious birth defects including brain and nerve problems. Pregnant people should be tested for syphilis at the first prenatal visit and again during the third trimester. Syphilis in pregnancy can be treated with weekly doses of a single antibiotic medication.
Over the last several years, Oregon has experienced a steep increase in syphilis among people who can become pregnant and in congenital syphilis. From 2014 to 2018, the number of early syphilis infections among people who become pregnant has increased over 300% and the number of congenital syphilis infections has increased 400%. Medical providers, public health professionals, and the public all play a role in congenital syphilis prevention.