Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The South shares the highest rate of congenital syphilis cases in the U.S.

Creative Commons

Geographical CDC data shows cases of syphilis, once thought to be a sexual infection of the past, have grown more than seven-fold in the last decade.

The South and the West shared the highest rates of congenital syphilis casesfrom 2018-2022.

From the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on the bacterial infection: "If untreated, syphilis can seriously damage the heart and brain and can cause blindness, deafness, and paralysis. When transmitted during pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage, lifelong medical issues, and infant death."

As a reminder, the CDC says, "You cannot get syphilis through casual contact with objects," like doorknobs, sharing clothes or eating utensils.

-Arlene C. Seña is a doctor, a Professor of Medicine at U-N-C’s Medical School, and a professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Public Health. She is also a consultant for the CDC Sexually Transmitted Disease(s) Treatment Guidelines.

Additional data referenced in this segment:
-Primary and Secondary Syphilis — Reported Cases Among Women Aged 15–44 Years by County, United States, 2022
-Missed Opportunities for Preventing Congenital Syphilis — United States, 2022

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
Cole del Charco is an audio producer and writer based in Durham. He's made stories for public radio's All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Marketplace. Before joining Due South, he spent time as a freelance journalist, an education and daily news reporter for WUNC, and a podcast producer for WFAE in Charlotte.