Having a healthy pregnancy and baby is the main goal of any expectant mother, but a spike in congenital syphilis has Houston mothers on alert.
According to the Houston Health Department, congenital syphilis is a chronic infectious disease caused by a spirochete (treponema pallidum) acquired by the fetus in the uterus before birth. Symptoms of this disease may not become apparent until several weeks or months after birth and, in some cases, may take years to appear.
The number of congenital syphilis cases among pregnant mothers in Houston and Harris County have more than doubled every year since 2017, with women being 92 percent of all syphilis cases.
Due to the increase, the Houston Health Department (HHD) launched the “My Prenatal Promise” campaign to urge expectant mothers to seek consistent prenatal care and required syphilis testing to prevent the disease.
“The ‘My Prenatal Promise’ campaign is designed to educate, encourage and equip women with the information and resources they need to receive the best prenatal care for themselves and their babies so that they can stay healthy during their pregnancy,” said Marlene McNeese, assistant director of the HHD’s Division of Disease Prevention and Control. “This campaign has the potential to reverse the rise in congenital syphilis cases in Texas and in the Houston/Harris County area.”
After hearing about the increasing numbers and the risk factors, local business owner Jackie Adams reached out to HHD in an effort to help educate the community about the issue.
“I had been talking with my team about doing something for Women’s History Month, so when I learned about the rising syphilis cases I wanted to do my part to educate the women in the community,” said Adams, who owns MELODRAMA Boutique.
The event will take place on Friday March 26, 2021 from 5pm to 7pm CST at MELODRAMA with a “Chucks and Pearls” theme.