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July 1970

Manifestations of Late Congenital SyphilisAn Analysis of 271 Patients

Author Affiliations


From the Division of Communicable Diseases, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, University Hospital, Boston City Hospital, and the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, Boston Dispensary (Dr. Fiumara); and Boston University School of Medicine, and the Ophthalmology Service, Boston City Hospital (Dr. Lessell).

Arch Dermatol. 1970;102(1):78-83. doi:10.1001/archderm.1970.04000070080012

In the 12-year-period, 1958 to 1969, there was a 202% increase in reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis in the United States and, as a consequence, congenital syphilis in children under 1 year of age rose by 117% during the ten years from 1960 to 1969. In the same decade, congenital syphilis in children under 10 years of age rose by 168%. At the Boston City Hospital Skin Clinic, 271 patients with late congenital syphilis were examined from January 1967 through June 1969, and the presence or absence of 14 common stigmata were carefully checked. Of these, five are major signs and, for all practical purposes, are diagnostic of congenital syphilis. The other nine stigmata are minor signs, and of themselves are not diagnostic of congenital syphilis.