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California recorded more than 300,000 cases of sexually transmitted disease in 2017, a 45 percent jump from five years earlier.
If not treated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility, long-term pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy -- when the fetus grows outside the uterus. Syphilis can lead to blindness, hearing loss and neurological issues, the wire service said.
The report noted 30 stillbirths stemming from cases of syphilis, the highest number in more than 20 years.
"We've known how to control syphilis since the early 1900s. Seeing it come back like this is a sign of failure of the public health safety net," Dr. Jeffery Klausner, a professor of medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Associated Press.
Klausner pointed to the nations of Cuba, Thailand and Belarus, which have virtually eliminated syphilis cases among infants, the AP reported.
"Regular testing and treatment are very important for people who are sexually active, even for people who have no symptoms," Smith added. "Most people infected with an STD do not know it."
STD rates have risen nationwide for several years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 2 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the wire service.
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