County doctor urges education, prevention on syphilis

Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - Doctors are on high alert in Jackson County as it leads the state in the growth rate of syphilis cases.

Dr. Omar Aziz, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Harris Medical Center, said he urges pregnant women to get screened for syphilis.

Syphilis can get passed along, from the woman to the child.

“It can cause miscarriage, it can cause low birthrate, prematurity,” Dr. Aziz said, “Even if the baby is born and everything looks fine, the baby can die.”

Dr. Aziz added he normally screens pregnant women at their first appointment and at 28 weeks, to make sure the disease is detected.

He mentioned he keeps his patients educated on sexually transmitted infections by encouraging them to be open about their sexual behavior and also practicing safe sex.

Any suspicions about having syphilis can be addressed by your health care provider, so they can determine how to get you tested.

The OB-GYN said early detection and treatment is the best way to cure syphilis, adding if left undetected, “damages to the heart and the brain can be irreversible.”

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