LIVE SCIENCE – More than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the U.S. in 2021 — nearly 6% more than were reported in 2020.
Syphilis rates, in particular, leapt to levels not seen since the 1950s. More than 176,000 cases of syphilis were reported in 2021, up from nearly 134,000 in 2020.
Rates of the bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) reached historic lows in the early 2000s — when they hovered around 30,000 per year — but they have climbed steadily since then, according to finalized data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(opens in new tab) (CDC) on Tuesday (April 11).
Out of the total reported syphilis cases, 2,855 were congenital syphilis, which occurs when syphilis-causing bacteria pass through the placenta during pregnancy.
These cases resulted in 220 congenital syphilis-related stillbirths and infant deaths. Overall, the nationwide rate of congenital syphilis increased more than 30% between 2020 and 2021. Rates of the disease are 464% higher than they were in 2001.
The resurgence of syphilis in the U.S. “remains a significant source of concern,” Dr. Leandro Mena(opens in new tab), director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, wrote in the report(opens in new tab).
However, the 2021 rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea far outpaced those for syphilis …