Maternal and congenital syphilis, underreported and difficult to control

Kátia Regina Gandra Lafetá Hercílio Martelli Júnior Marise Fagundes Silveira Lívia Máris Ribeiro Paranaíba About the authors



To identify and to describe cases of congenital and maternal syphilis reported and not reported in a Brazilian medium-sized city.


This is a descriptive and retrospective study, which evaluated 214 medical records of pregnant women and newborns. It began with the identification of epidemiological notification records, followed by active search in maternity evaluating all records that did show positive nontreponemal serology and records of the reference service in infectious diseases in Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, from 2007 to 2013. The case definitions followed the Ministry of Health recommendations in Brazil and the variables were described using absolute and relative frequencies. This study was approved by the Ethics in Research Committee (University State of Montes Claros).


Of the 214 medical records, we identified 93 cases of maternal syphilis and 54 cases of congenital. The women studied were predominantly mulatto, with Secundary/Higher, aged between 21 and 30 years and single marital status. Considering the prenatal care of pregnant women with syphilis, it was observed predominance of late diagnosis, after parturition or curettage, and all of their treatments were considered inadequate according the Ministry of Health. The newborns of pregnant women with syphilis, most were not referenced for pediatric follow-up. Only 6.5% of syphilis in pregnant women was notified, and in congenital syphilis, 24.1%.


Persisting vertical transmission, there are signs that the quality of prenatal and neonatal care should be restructured.

Pregnancy; Syphilis; Congenital syphilis; Prenatal care; Public health; Treponema pallidum.

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