Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

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Did you know that there is a resurgence of syphilis? There is. In 2019, the United States had doubled the number of syphilis cases from the previous five years and the CDC says that 2020 numbers are looking just as bad.

Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease and it is especially dangerous for pregnant women who can pass it on to their babies, giving them a 40% chance of dying.

Doctors and public health servants who work to prevent the spread of syphilis say that they are hamstrung by low budgets and crippled by the cost of medicine in the U.S. Penicillin can treat syphilis but private doctors do not carry it because it costs them $1,000 per dosage to buy in advance and it has a quick expiration date. Public health departments can buy penicillin for 25 cents per dose.

Education and case tracing is the only way to prevent a larger outbreak but that costs money that public health officials don’t have. Congress sets the budget for the CDC and unless a disease has strong public interest, the money won’t get to where it needs to go. So expect to hear more about syphilis in the coming years.

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