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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2008 Nov;14(11):1065-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02066.x. Epub 2008 Sep 29.

Antenatal syphilis serology in pregnant women and follow-up of their infants in northern Italy.

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Section of Microbiology, DMCSS, S.Orsola Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Positive syphilis serology was noted in 119 (0.49%) of the 24 053 pregnant women delivering at St Orsola Hospital in Bologna, Italy, from November 2000 through July 2007. Six presumptive cases of congenital syphilis with IgM western blot positive results were found. Two infants had a positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test result (one also had a positive CSF PCR result), another presented long-bone lesions, and the remaining three were preterm. These observations confirmed that antenatal syphilis screening facilitates treatment during pregnancy and offsets vertical transmission; moreover, the use of IgM western blot and careful CSF examination allowed the identification and treatment of high-risk newborns.

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