Sexually transmitted disease rates in Clark County are increasing, which is troubling enough to public health officials. But having two babies born with syphilis last year is not only troubling, it’s tragic, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer.“That is a tragedy that we should be able to prevent,” Melnick said.After years without any cases, Clark County Public Health reported two cases on congenital syphilis in 2016. Despite the risk of stillbirth, infant death and disability, both Clark County babies appear to be in good health now, Melnick said.“We haven’t had two cases in one year going back several years,” he said. “This is unusual for us.”Syphilis is a curable sexually transmitted disease that is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Many people, however, don’t have symptoms and may not know they have the disease. Without treatment, syphilis may lead to serious health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Congenital syphilis occurs when the baby, in utero, becomes infected with the sexually transmitted disease. Women can become infected during pregnancy or before pregnancy and, left untreated, pass the disease on to the unborn baby.In infants, syphilis can be fatal. Up to 40 percent of congenital syphilis cases result in stillbirth or infant death. Congenital syphilis can also cause premature birth, low birth weight, deformed bones, blindness, deafness and brain damage that leads to developmental delays, among other problems.