There’s been an alarming increase in newborn babies with congenital syphilis in Mississippi, with local hospitals recording a 900% surge.

A recent analysis of hospital billing data from local healthcare facilities shared with NBC News showed that the state documented 100 cases of congenital syphilis in 2021. Five years prior, the state only recorded 10.

The spike is bad news to the state, which already has the worst infant mortality rate in the country. Babies born in local hospitals are said to be at further risk of life-threatening harm, according to the news outlet.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the medical director for the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Crossroads Clinic in Jackson, addressed the issue, saying he has already talked to local health providers who “are absolutely horrified” that more babies are born with the disease within the state.

“This seems like something that should have happened a hundred years ago, not last year. There’s really kind of a shock,” Dobbs added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies catch congenital syphilis from their moms who have syphilis. When left untreated, the bacterial infection typically passes on to babies during pregnancy.

Babies born to women with syphilis may be stillborn or die from the infection as a newborn. Common symptoms in babies include deformed bones, severe anemia, enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice, skin rash, brain and nerve problems and meningitis. However, the CDC noted that some cases won’t have symptoms at birth.

Congenital syphilis cases already dwindled in the past. The last year the country recorded a large number of cases was 1994. Surprisingly, there’s been a sharp increase in cases recently. In 2020 alone, more than 2,000 cases were recorded, as per the CDC.

Before sharing the data this month, Dobbs acknowledged that prenatal care was becoming a big problem in Mississippi in early January. “All pregnant women should be tested 2-3 times during pregnancy & delayed prenatal care is a major problem for [Mississippi],” he wrote on Twitter at the time.

The Mississippi State Department of Health admitted that it does not track deaths due to congenital syphilis. However, it confirmed that at least one baby died of the infection in 2021, as per Live Science.