Hawaii has seen an appalling increase of syphilis cases among newborns and women, urging authorities to pay attention to the disease and to carry out any possible intervention.

In a news release, the state of Hawaii revealed that the syphilis cases found in newborns and women increased over the last four years. The state's health department said that between 2000 and 2016, the rate of syphilis cases was only at zero to two every year. However, this number jumped to 11 probable cases in the year 2020.

Within the last four years, the state saw three to four cases every year, and although this could still be considered as low, their officials see it as a cause for concern, one that needs their urgent attention and intervention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that syphilis in newborns occurs when a mother who suffers from infection passes it to her baby during pregnancy. It can also lead to stillbirth, low birth weight, miscarriage, premature birth, and even death after birth, depending on how long the infection lasts. About 40 percent of babies who are born to mothers with syphilis could either die from the infection or be stillborn.

Aside from the appalling effects seen during birth, there are other worrisome ill effects of the infection. It could lead to low blood count, deformed bones, nerve issues, brain issues, enlarged liver, meningitis, and even skin rashes. There is even a possibility that a baby born to a mom with syphilis would not show any symptoms. However, the CDC said that if congenital syphilis does not get treated, a baby can later develop symptoms and die. Another possible consequence is a delay in their development as well as seizures.

To help avoid congenital syphilis, the CDC advises that pregnant women will be tested for syphilis during their first prenatal visit. There is a possibility that a pregnant woman already has the infection and isn't aware of it. The only way to be sure if one is infected is through a test.

Hawaii sees rising number of syphilis cases in newborns. Photo: Pixabay

There is no need to worry much because syphilis can be treated using antibiotics. Those who test positive for the disease must get treatment right away. If you suspect that your baby has the infection, talk to your doctor, and get an immediate test. This will help ensure that your baby receives the right treatment at the earliest and avoid the complications brought about by the infection.