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September 1991

Congenital Syphilis Associated With Negative Results of Maternal Serologic Tests at Delivery

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Microbiology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75235

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(9):967-969. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160090017007

Sir.—The incidence of congenital syphilis has steadily increased in the last decade. In 1988, 691 cases of early congenital syphilis were reported to the Centers for Disease Control.1 This is the largest number of cases reported to the centers since the early 1950s, when penicillin became widely used to treat syphilis in pregnant women.1 Because congenital syphilis generally can be prevented by detection and treatment of syphilis early in pregnancy, failure to obtain adequate prenatal care is believed to be the most important factor associated with congenital syphilis.1,2

Current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control require that all states perform serologic screening tests for detecting syphilis at the beginning of prenatal care. Additional screenings at the beginning of the third trimester (28 weeks) and at delivery also are recommended for mothers who live in areas with high incidences of syphilis.2-4 This approach will reveal almost

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