The incidence of syphilis in Alaska and the United States has seen an increase in recent years, with a notable change in who is affected in Alaska — more babies are being born with the sexually transmitted disease.
A report from the State Department of Health reveals that the syphilis epidemiology in Alaska is changing, and that women now account for a substantial portion of new cases. This change has resulted in a concerning rise in congenital syphilis cases in the state.
According to the data presented by the Division of Epidemiology, in 2018, 88% of syphilis cases in Alaska were reported in men, primarily among men who have sex with men.
However, by 2022, there has been a change, with women representing 47% of all reported cases. Some 89% of these women were of reproductive age.
This shift in the affected population has been accompanied by an increase in the incidence of congenital syphilis. In 2019, Alaska reported zero cases of congenital syphilis, but by 2022, that number had risen to 12 cases.
In addition, the incidence of CS in Alaska increased from 53 cases per 100,000 births in 2021 to a staggering 128 cases per 100,000 births in 2022. For comparison, the United States reported an incidence of 78 cases per 100,000 births in 2021.
Congenital syphilis is a condition caused by inadequately treated syphilis during pregnancy. It can lead to fetal death or disabilities in newborns, making it a significant public health concern.
Read the latest Alaska syphilis report at this link.