MCHD takes part in ‘Syphilis In Jails’ screening project

February 8, 2020

MCHD takes part in ‘Syphilis In Jails’ screening project

MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department is currently working with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office to begin the “Syphilis In Jails” screening project.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention to support local health departments engaged in lowering rates of congenital syphilis, which have been on the rise and disproportionately affect people of color and their babies.

In 2022, NACCHO awarded three local health departments with funding for demonstration projects to conduct routine, opt-out syphilis screening of women and other individuals of child-bearing capacity housed in local jails, a critical population. Along with MCHD, the other funded jurisdictions selected through a competitive process to collaborate on this project were Washoe County Health District in Washoe, Nevada, and the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee.

The primary purpose was to assess the effectiveness of routine, opt-out syphilis screening of women and other individuals of child-bearing capacity in local jails as an intervention to identify and treat new cases of syphilis.

The sites were awarded up to $75,000 each.

The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the Mobile County Metro Jail. This facility houses an average of 1,500 inmates per day and is the detention facility not only for the county but for the city of Mobile as well.
Also assisting in the project is NaphCare. The company currently provides health care services to local, state, and federal clients in 32 states. It began providing services at Mobile County Metro Jail in 2013.

Shown in the photo, from left to right, are Seth Stewart, RN, NaphCare; Karrie Fisher, RN, NaphCare; Sam Houston, Deputy Warden; Courtney Lassiter, NaphCare; Ashley Brown, MA, MCHD; LaSonja Smith, MCHD; Vanessa Cochran, MCHD; Dr. Rendi Murphree, MCHD; and Cherrite Peterson, MCHD.

Congenital syphilis is a disease that occurs when a pregnant person with syphilis passes the infection on to the fetus during pregnancy and it is entirely preventable with testing and treatment. CDC’s preliminary 2020 congenital syphilis data indicated that more than 2,020 infants born in 2020 were reported as cases of congenital syphilis, up from 1,870 cases in 2019. One hundred and 39 of those cases resulted in death of the infant or stillbirth.

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