The article by Russell and Altshuler in this issue (see page 160) on congenital syphilis is timely and brings up important issues. It is widely acknowledged that the incidence of syphilis has increased in recent years, but, at the same time, its recognition is not achieved with the alacrity needed to prevent its destructive effects, particularly in the fetus. Of the many congenital infections, syphilis is not only the most readily prevented, but it is also the most susceptible to therapy. As is evident from these cases, prenatal care and, thus, syphilis diagnosis is not universal. Furthermore, the infected infant may appear entirely normal at birth, only to develop manifestations of the disease after many months. These include hepatitis and nephritis. In a recent report by McDonald et all published in the Journal six of ten cases of infantile nephrosis were shown to be due to congenital syphilis. None of
BENIRSCHKE K. Syphilis—The Placenta and the Fetus. Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(2):142–143. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110270016003
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