Kansas sees rise in syphilis cases, newborns with disease

TOPEKA — Kansas has seen a big jump in syphilis cases over the past five years and a spike in the number of infants born with the sexually transmitted disease.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that Kansas reported 152 cases of primary and secondary stage syphilis in 2018, compared with 60 in 2013. The increase was 153%.

The rate of cases per 100,000 residents grew to 5.2 in 2018 from 2.1 in 2013.

Kansas had eight cases of newborns being born with syphilis in 2018. The state had only a single reported case from 2013 through 2017.

Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said babies born with syphilis may be developmentally delayed, have seizures or die if the infection is not treated during a pregnancy.

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