The U.S. faces a recent spike in syphilis cases in many cities and states. This has led to concerns about the shortages of Bicillin, an injectable penicillin used for treating the disease in both kids and adults.
Houston reported an outbreak of syphilis on July 13, stating that there had been a rise in the cases by 128 percent among women. Congenital syphilis also increased nine-fold within Houston and Harris County.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously stated that they expected certain Becillin medications to face a shortage last month. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in syphilis cases in the country. Syphilis is either transmitted through sexual contact, or it can be passed from a mother to an unborn child.
Since 2017, all stages of the disease have risen by 74%, with over 176,000 cases reported in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2020 to 2021, there was a 32 percent increase in syphilis cases, while there was also an increase of 32 percent in congenital syphilis cases. This meant there were 220 infant deaths and stillbirths as mothers passed the infection to their offspring.
Certain states have had a higher increase, with congenital syphilis cases in Texas increasing by 650 percent since 2016.
The Texas-Mexico border region “has the lowest rates of gonorrhea and primary and secondary syphilis, but has the highest rate of congenital syphilis,” according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“They are not being tested for COVID as they come across [the border], much less for syphilis,” Hodges, the Texas physician, told Siegel.
James Hodges, M.D., an internist who has been practicing in Texas for more than two decades, told Fox News Digital that there is double the amount of cases in the area when compared to the number of cases 18 months ago in women’s prison inmate units from Houston and San Antonio, as well as from Dallas-Ft. Worth.