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Syphilis During Pregnancy: A Preventable Threat to Maternal-fetal Health

Rac, M.W.; Revell, P.A.; Eppes, C.S.

doi: 10.1097/01.aoa.0000529975.55012.e8
Editorials and Reviews

(Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017;216(4):352–363)

Even with an available cure, syphilis remains a growing, global health concern for women during pregnancy. Between 2012 and 2014 there was a 38% increase in the rate of congenital syphilis. Syphilis presents a clear danger as stillbirths occur in about 25% of pregnancies along with other adverse outcomes. While syphilis in pregnant women in several counties has been eliminated through a World Health Organization initiative, rates in the United States have increased. African American women have a 10 times higher rate of congenital infection than white women. Syphilis infection rates have increased in all geographical areas. Lack of prenatal care, lack of diagnostic screening, and lack of treatment are the primary issues. Syphilis has significant effects on the infants born to infected mothers. More than 50% of infants may be infected and adverse outcomes are seen in as many as 75% of untreated pregnancies.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

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