Questionnaire Survey of Reported Early Congenital Syphilis: Problems in Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment

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A retrospective questionnaire survey of a sample of 173 of the 360 cases of early congenital syphilis reported in 1972 revealed serious problems with diagnostic certainty, prevention, and treatment of congenital syphilis. Only 24 (13.9%) of the reported cases could be categorized as probable or definite cases based on criteria developed from a literature review. Forty percent of the mothers received no prenatal care and an additional 19% received no prenatal care until the third trimester. Initial and followup serologic testing was inadequate in those who received care. Eighty-three different penicillin treatment schedules were used in the treatment of 128 infants. Carefully reasoned diagnostic and therapeutic decision making about the management of congenital syphilis appears to be lacking.

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