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After a dip in US reports of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) early in the COVID-19 pandemic, cases have resurged, according to the CDC’s 2020 STD Surveillance Report.
The report noted that the decline in cases was likely due to pandemic-related disruptions in care and several other factors: public health staff being diverted from STD work to COVID-19, insurance lapses, laboratory supply shortages, and telemedicine services that may not have logged cases in national data. But the short-lived downturn was followed by a dramatic resurgence in cases later in 2020.
Between 2019 and 2020, reported cases of gonorrhea increased by 10% and cases of primary and secondary syphilis increased by about 7%. Rising syphilis rates also contributed to a 15% increase in congenital syphilis during this period. In 2020, 2148 cases of congenital syphilis reported in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 1 territory included 149 stillbirths or infant deaths. The lack of timely access to prenatal care or failure to screen pregnant women for syphilis contributed to these congenital cases, Leandro Mena, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, wrote in a letter to clinicians about the report.
“The COVID-19 pandemic put enormous pressure on an already strained public health infrastructure,” Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement. “The unrelenting momentum of the STD epidemic continued even as STD prevention services were disrupted.”
Reported cases of chlamydia, which often is asymptomatic, decreased by 13% between 2019 and 2020. The surveillance report’s authors attributed the decline to disruptions in screening rather than a reduction in cases.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid