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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Joan Adam, Secretary of Health

Syphilis can be deadly for your baby. 
Syphilis: Test. Treat. Cure.

How common is congenital syphilis?

Cases have more than tripled in recent years, and providers across the country are very concerned about the growing number of cases in the United States. It is important to ensure you get tested for syphilis if you are pregnant.

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), usually spread through skin-to-skin contact, typically during sex. Syphilis has been called "the great imitator" because its symptoms are similar to other infections and diseases. Additionally, its symptoms can be so mild that you may not notice that you have them.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

The first sign of syphilis is a painless sore that disappears after a couple of weeks. If left untreated, about a month later, there may be a new white, cauliflower-like sore, swollen lymph nodes, patchy hair loss, non-itchy skin rash, and/or a rash on the bottoms of feet and palms of hands. These symptoms also disappear. Symptoms may go unnoticed because the sore(s) is (are) painless and may appear in an unseen area of the body, and the non-itchy rash can be faint.

What can happen when syphilis goes untreated?

Even though symptoms may disappear, untreated syphilis can damage your brain, nerves, eyes, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Syphilis in pregnant women can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Babies who survive can have irreversible damage to the skin, bones, joints, eyes, ears, and brain. There are ways pregnant moms can protect their babies from syphilis. A simple blood test can detect syphilis, and antibiotics treat and cure the disease. Early detection and treatment are essential to help prevent devastating lifelong health consequences.

If you are pregnant, talk to your medical provider about getting tested for syphilis during your first prenatal visit, early in your third trimester, and at delivery. It's also very important to reduce your risk of getting an STI during pregnancy by talking to your partner(s) about STI testing and using condoms.

Treat and cure Syphilis with antibiotics.

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