Congenital syphilis is a severe, life-threatening infection with convenient diagnosis and widespread treatment availability; however, vertical transmission rates continue to increase in resource-constrained countries. The objective of this study is to explore the incidence and epidemiological profile of congenital syphilis among newborns in an area with high burden of disease.METHODS:
An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted with all reported cases of congenital syphilis from Brazilian's Notifiable Diseases Information System (SINAN) in Alagoas between January 2007 and December 2011. Data were analyzed in descriptive statistics by applying frequencies and the fatality rate was calculated.RESULTS:
A total of 1,258 cases of congenital syphilis were reported, with average annual incidence of 4.58 cases per million live births. Most were pardo or black (78.1%); with low education level (illiterate or incomplete primary education) (57.9%) and 49.8% were between 20 and 29 years. Only 68.4% attended antenatal care facilities and few were diagnosed prenatally (25.6%), as more than a half had their diagnosis at delivery/curettage (50.2%). Besides, a high percentage of pregnant women were untreated or inadequately treated for syphilis (85%) and the great majority of their partners had not received any form of treatment (65.8%). The fatality rate during this period was 10.2%.CONCLUSION:
Congenital syphilis imposes a significant economic and social burden in resource-constrained countries. Reexamination of current policies and practices related to antenatal care is warranted to provide more efficient neonatal and maternal care strategies.