Syphilis and congenital syphilis in Paraguay


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Health officials note that the prevalence of syphilis in Paraguay remains high, despite effective preventive measures, such as condom use, as well as effective and cheap treatment options.

In 2021, 7,902 people diagnosed with syphilis were registered in the country, an increase of 19% in cases compared to 2020. 64% (5065) of the subjects who tested positive for syphilis were female, and 36% (2837) corresponded to the male population. The higher number of women may be due to the increased use of health services during or outside pregnancy.

49.71% of people diagnosed are between the ages of 25 and 49, followed by 32.69% among those between the ages of 15 and 24. While 9.77% of cases were recorded in the age group from 0 to 14 years and 7.83% in the age group of 50 years and over.

Syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics (penicillin).

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From 2017 to 2021, there were 27,068 reported cases of syphilis, with an incidence rate of 36.1 per 100,000 population. The significant growth in recent years may be due to increased testing offered to key populations and pregnant women who come to the service.

The capital and the health districts of Central, Alto Paraná, Canindio, San Pedro, Caguazu and Itapua were the regions with the highest number of people testing positive for syphilis.

Syphilis in pregnant women

Cases were detected in 72% of women who attended antenatal care services and had syphilis tests taken, that is, in 104,560 of 144,877 pregnant women, according to data from 2021. In the same period, only 52% of cases underwent treatment.

The percentage of congenital syphilis is 0.5% in the national territory. Congenital syphilis can be easily prevented through early detection and timely and appropriate treatment of infected pregnant women.

About 50% of pregnant women with untreated syphilis pass the infection on to their babies before birth. Approximately 40% of babies born to untreated pregnant mothers with syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection.

Complications that can occur in pregnant women infected with syphilis without treatment are: miscarriage, fetal death, intrauterine growth retardation, non-immune hydrocephalus, premature delivery, neonatal death.

Syphilis: transmission and prevention

Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum, which results in significant morbidity and mortality. It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) generally transmitted by contact with infectious sores on the genitals, anus, rectum, lips, or mouth; Through blood transfusions, or through transmission from mother to child during pregnancy.

Correct and consistent use of condoms significantly reduces the risk of infection.

Transmission of syphilis from mother to child (congenital syphilis) is preventable and achievable through early detection and treatment.

Women of childbearing age and pregnant women should be tested for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases (HIV and hepatitis B), as well as their sexual partners, to reduce the incidence of these sexually transmitted diseases and to achieve the birth of healthy children. The test is free and available at Health Services.

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