SAN ANTOINO - There's an unprecedented level of syphilis in Bexar County.
The metro health department says around 500 adults tested positive for the STD in 2012, and what's especially concerning is that the infection is being passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.
Last year 18 babies were born with syphilis in Bexar County. Five of the babies were born dead.
Metro health director Doctor Thomas Schlenker says some of the mothers are dumbfounded because their only partner is their husband.
"That does occur because there is so much out there in the community, and you can never really be absolutely sure of your partner, even if you're married to them, especially here in San Antonio," Schlenker said.
The Metro Health Department is advocating for area doctors to test mothers for syphilis three times during pregnancy.
The department is also adding staff to better educate the community about the STD.
Syphilis is easily treated with penicillin but congenital syphilis, which is passed from mother to baby, is not treatable.
The infection causes life-long disabilities such as blindness, seizures and severe learning disabilities.