A large number of infants born of mothers known to be syphilitic show no clinical symptoms of the disease during the first weeks of life. Likewise a comparatively large number give negative serum reactions. Roentgenologic evidence of bone lesions characteristic of congenital syphilis is the only other known diagnostic sign of the disease. How reliable this sign is, compared to the clinical and serologic evidences in the diagnosis, was the question we hoped to answer when we started the work on which this report is based.
We studied a series of infants born of mothers known to have syphilis by making periodic clinical, serologic and roentgenologic examinations during the first year of life.
Our material comprises 104 consecutive infants born at the Cook County Hospital during the two year period from the autumn of 1928 to the autumn of 1930. A careful physical examination was made during the first few few days of life, blood was drawn for Wassermann and Kahn tests, and roentgenograms were made of the long bones. The same procedure was followed
PARMELEE AH, HALPERN LJ. THE DIAGNOSIS OF CONGENITAL SYPHILIS. JAMA. 1935;105(8):563-566. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760340009004