Eliminating Syphilis and Congenital Syphilis in Texas


What’s new

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas has the highest number of congenital syphilis cases of any state, with 561 plus cases so far this year. Syphilis and congenital syphilis have increased in numbers due to:

  • Public complacency
  • Increased opioid use
  • Lack of adequate prenatal care for low-income mothers
  • Nonmedical drivers of health – such as no transportation for doctor’s appointment
  • COVID-19 plays a part as well as people were not coming in for visits to identify rashes earlier was challenging

Syphilis can be difficult to diagnose because it develops in stages and the symptoms vary from stage to stage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers providers updated information on diagnosis and treatment of this insidious disease.

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) posted an article, Making a Comeback: Texas Leads the Nation in congenital Syphilis on their website regarding the rise of congenital syphilis in Texas. 

Provider Impact

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) request the assistance of all our providers to educate our members. In the state of Texas providers who care for pregnant women are now required to screen these patients for syphilis at three points in time (first visit, third trimester, and at delivery).

Syphilis can easily be treated with penicillin; however, the dose and duration of treatment differs depending on the stage of the disease. While a simple course of antibiotics treats the symptoms, the damage from advanced disease is not reversible. This is why early detection and treatment is critical.


Tex Med. 2022;118(6):38-41, July 2022 Texas Medical Association.

Providers, for questions or additional information, please:

The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. References to other third-party sources or organizations are not a representation, warranty, or endorsement of such organization. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material, is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations, and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.