NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Public health officials have been sounding the alarm on the prevalence of congenital syphilis in New Mexico. Now, the Department of Health is renewing a public health order to combat the “rising threat.”

“The clock is ticking, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Babies are dying, and we cannot stand idly by,” New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen said in a press release. “This public health order is our urgent response to protect the health and lives of our children and the residents in our state.”

Congenital syphilis impacts pregnant individuals and their infants. If left untreated, the bacterial infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy. But generally, syphilis can be treated with medication.

Last year, New Mexico reported a 660% increase in congenital syphilis over a five-year period. In 2023, there have been eight fetal deaths connected to congenital syphilis, the New Mexico Department of Health says.

To address the issue, the Department of Health is pushing screening for all adults up to the age of 50, testing for pregnant individuals during various stages of their pregnancy, and testing for pregnant individuals at correctional facilities. The full public health order can be found here.

New Mexicans can find more resources for STD testing online at this link.