2022

"Congenital syphilis rates soar across California as public health funding dwindles"


CalMatters interviewed Dr. Jennifer Wagman about research that found California has the sixth-highest rate of congenital syphilis in the U.S.

In the Central Valley, where two-thirds of the nation’s fruit and nuts are grown, the pastoral landscape masks entrenched racial and economic disparities. Life expectancy in Fresno County drops by 20 years depending on where you live, and it’s those who live in historically poor, redlined or rural neighborhoods who are most impacted by a resurgence of maternal and congenital syphilis.

“Are you familiar with syphilis?” Hou Vang, a county communicable disease specialist, asks a pregnant woman standing in the shade of a tree outside her home.

She lives with her parents in Reedley, California, a small town 30 minutes southeast of the city of Fresno, surrounded by neat rows of grapevines, orange groves and almond trees.

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Faculty Referenced by this Article

Jennifer A. Wagman
Jennifer A. Wagman
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Shira Shafir
Shira Shafir
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Robert Kim-Farley
Robert J. Kim-Farley

Robert J. Kim-Farley, MD, MPH, is a Professor-in-Residence with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Dr. Donald Morisky
Donald E. Morisky
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Gilbert Gee
Gilbert C. Gee
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Jessica Gipson
Jessica Gipson
Community Health Sciences
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Diana Bonta
Diana Bonta
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein
Community Health Sciences
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glik, deborah
Deborah Glik
Community Health Sciences
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Philip Massey headshot
Philip Massey
Community Health Sciences
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