Syphilis cases are on the rise in Luzerne County, particularly among pregnant women, raising concerns about the transmission of the disease to infants and the associated health complications. The sexually transmitted infection (STI) can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, leading to serious risks for both.
Kady McGlynn, Associate Director of Personal Health at the Wilkes-Barre Health Department, suggests that the increasing number of syphilis cases in the county may be attributed to a lack of testing or healthcare seeking during the pandemic. This situation highlights the need to identify areas with low testing rates and populations at high risk. In fact, Luzerne County ranked second highest for syphilis cases in the state last year, coming right behind Philadelphia.
Henry Radulski, Director of the Wilkes-Barre Health Department, emphasizes that syphilis is a preventable disease and urges proactive measures to combat its spread and provide proper care for affected individuals. The health department is prioritizing education and outreach efforts, along with its free STI clinic. Their goal is to raise awareness about syphilis, its treatability with antibiotics, and the importance of testing, particularly among pregnant individuals.
To address the issue, the health department collaborated with the state to send letters to over 600 providers in the county in October. These letters offered recommendations for testing and provided information about free testing clinics. Ongoing efforts to increase education and outreach to both providers and the public aim to minimize the rate of syphilis cases and reduce the risk of newborn syphilis.
The concerning rise of sexually transmitted infections in Luzerne County has prompted a special report by The Times Leader in collaboration with Eyewitness News. The report emphasizes the urgency to address the issue and directs readers to visit www.pahomepage.com for the full report.
In conclusion, the increasing rate of syphilis cases in Luzerne County, particularly among pregnant women, has raised concerns about the transmission of the disease to infants and the associated health complications. Efforts are being made by the health department to raise awareness, provide proper care, and increase testing rates in order to combat the spread of syphilis and reduce the risk to newborns.