News On Japan

New mothers facing tripled syphilis risk compared to eight years ago

NHK reports that syphillis continues to rise in new mothers

TOKYO, Jan 11 (News On Japan) - A survey conducted by an association of obstetricians and gynecologists has revealed that the number of pregnant women diagnosed with syphilis last year was over 370, a figure more than three times higher than that of a survey conducted eight years ago.

Experts advise, "Syphilis is a curable disease if treated early, so we encourage those who are concerned to consult with a gynecologist."

In response to the recent surge in syphilis cases in Japan, the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists carried out a questionnaire survey targeting approximately 2,000 medical institutions that handle childbirth. Responses were received from 1,346 facilities. According to the survey results, among the approximately 455,000 pregnant women who gave birth last year at the responding facilities, 376 were infected with syphilis. This represents an infection rate approximately 3.3 times higher than the previous survey conducted in 2016.

Regarding the timing of the diagnosis, 80.9% were discovered during early pregnancy health check-ups. However, cases where the infection was detected as a result of not receiving health check-ups and proceeding to childbirth accounted for 14.5%, an increase from the previous survey. Furthermore, there were 28 cases of congenital syphilis, where the infection was transmitted from the pregnant woman to the fetus, and although not conclusively linked to syphilis, there were also eight instances of stillbirth.

Associate Professor Eijiro Hayata of Toho University, who compiled the survey, stated, "This survey covers about 60% of the national birth rate, so the actual number of pregnant women infected with syphilis could be higher. Since syphilis can be cured if treated early, we urge those who are worried to seek advice from a gynecologist."

Source: NHK

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