Congenital syphilis: The university of miami/jackson memorial medical center experience, 1986–1988

Jean M. Ricci, Rita M. Fojaco, Mary Jo O’Sullivan

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81 Scopus citations


Between January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1988, 56 cases of congenital syphilis were identified at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. The overall rate was 18.4 cases per 10,000 births, with a threefold increase found from 1986 to 1988. A case-control study using matched pairs was done to identify differences in maternal demographics and pregnancy outcome. Congenital syphilis case mothers were predominantly black American women who lacked prenatal care (67%) and who were substance abusers (71%) significantly more often than their matched controls (P < .005). Three cases of seroconversion in pregnancy were identified. Failure to screen or inappropriate treatment occurred in four patients. Seven women were treated during pregnancy: Five received benzathine penicillin G for 3 consecutive weeks and two received erythromycin. All treated patients presented for initial care in the late second or third trimester. Thirty-seven infants (66%) were live-born and 19 (34%) were stillborn. Preterm labor and premature rupture of the membranes were significantly more common in infected pregnancies than in controls (P < .005). Liveborn case infants had significantly lower birth weights than controls (P < .005), with 21% of case infants growth-retarded. Seven neonatal deaths and one infant death occurred. The resultant perinatal mortality rate from congenital syphilis in this series was 464 per 1000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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