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Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Jul;34(7 Suppl):S5-10.

The need and plan for global elimination of congenital syphilis.

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  • 1Department of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. schmidg@who.int


In every society, congenital syphilis (CS) has significant medical, economic, societal and emotional burdens; these are poorly characterized but high. Inexplicably, the elimination of CS has failed to attract international attention. Yet, the cornerstones of programs to do this universally are in place, the recent development of new diagnostic tools offers the now-practical possibility of testing every pregnant woman, testing is cost-effective, and programs for the elimination of CS can be joined with other programs to enhance efficiency. The magnitude of the CS burden, globally, rivals that of HIV infection in neonates yet receives little attention. The newly proposed World Health Organization Strategy for the Global Elimination of Congenital Syphilis aims to mobilize resources and provide a plan to address this under-recognized health problem.

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