Alaska again at the top of sexually transmitted disease rates

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) released a report outlining nationwide rates of sexually transmitted diseases across the country, and Alaska's rates remained at the top of the list. The state had only a single reported case from 2013 through 2017.

For 2018, the California Department of Public Health saw an increased number of reported syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia cases.

The CDC writes that "urgent action from all types of stakeholders is needed to help control the increases in STDs", and says that it is working to develop a federal action plan to stop the rise in rates.

Syphilis had the most dramatic spike over the 10-year period in terms of percentage; the 25,344 diagnoses represents a sharp rise of 265% from 2008, according to the report.

And, noted the CDC, they are seeing an alarming rise in newborn deaths from congenital syphilis, with almost 100 infants dying of the disease in 2018. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported - also the most since 1991.

The increases coincided with public health funding cuts and clinic closures.

Meanwhile a startling new trend in congenital syphilis has emerged.

Pregnant women with syphilis can pass the infection to the fetus they're carrying.

Babies with congenital syphilis are at risk of premature birth and low birth weights.

Leading the rise in nationwide increases, the USA saw a 40% rise in newborns born with congenital syphilis since a year ago, about a 14% increase overall. The county ranked 13th in California for rates of chlamydia with 2,704 cases reported in 2018.

Health officials encourage people to protect themselves from STDs by using condoms, getting tested, and practicing other safe sex principles.