The recent stimulation of interest in the detection and treatment of syphilis warrants comment on some of the special problems involved. One of these is the diagnosis of congenital syphilis. Antepartum examinations and the treatment of syphilitic women during pregnancy have prevented many cases of syphilis in the offspring but have made the diagnosis of congenital syphilis even more difficult. In most cases the diagnosis is either finally confirmed or excluded by the serologic studies or by the roentgen examination of the long bones. An early decision is important, for prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the occurrence of permanently damaging lesions; on the other hand, unnecessary treatment is particularly troublesome and harmful to the health and even life of a child.
A positive serologic reaction alone is of doubtful validity, for it is known that the property of producing a positive test may be transferred from the maternal blood
EVANS WA. SYPHILIS OF THE BONES IN INFANCYSOME POSSIBLE ERRORS IN THE ROENTGEN DIAGNOSIS. JAMA. 1940;115(3):197–200. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810290027007