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J Infect Dis. 1992 Oct;166(4):842-6.

Treponemal infection and the outcome of pregnancy in a rural area of The Gambia, west Africa.

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Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia.


Of 826 pregnant women studied in a rural area of The Gambia, 77 (9.3%) were seropositive for a treponemal infection (positive rapid plasma reagin [RPR] and Treponema pallidum hemagglutination [TPHA] test). The perinatal death rate recorded prospectively in babies of 77 seropositive women (39.0/1000 births) was less than that among babies of 720 seronegative women (77.6/1000 births; odds ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.15-1.57). No increase in mortality or morbidity was found among the children of 39 seropositive women compared with the children of 39 control women. Seropositivity was found in only 20 (1.1%) of 1872 children less than 14 years old residing in the same community. The finding that the babies of rural Gambian women seropositive for syphilis are not at risk of early death is of importance in determining the priority that should be given to establishing antenatal screening programs in The Gambia and neighboring communities.

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