Congenital Syphilis, Réunion Island, 2010

Abstract : Syphilis, caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, is primarily a sexually transmitted infection, but T. pallidum can also be transmitted by infected pregnant women to their children. Every year, at least 500,000 children are born with congenital syphilis (CS); maternal syphilis causes another half million stillbirths and abortions, usually in countries with limited resources. However, CS has been recently found in industrialized countries such as the United States, where the CS rate increased by 23% during 2005–2008, after a 38% increase in the syphilis rate among US women and girls during an earlier period (2004–2007). Réunion Island, a French overseas territory with 810,000 inhabitants, has a health care system similar to that in continental France. Neither syphilis infection, CS, nor other trepanomatosis (yaws) is notifiable. Since 2006, an increase in early syphilis was documented, first in men who have sex with men infected with HIV and second in the general population. In 2009, we conducted a retrospective study by using data from 2004–2009 to document the situation of CS on the island. Data from all public (n = 4) and private (n = 2) hospitals on the island with neonatology and obstetrical departments were investigated. Birth deliveries at home were not included. Inclusion criteria were positive specific (T. pallidum hemagglutination assay) and nonspecific (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory [VDRL]) test results for Treponema spp. among children <2 years of age during 2004–2009. Additionally, hospitalized children coded as having congenital syphilis (International Classification of Diseases [ICD] 10 codes A50.0 to A50.9) in the French national hospital database were included. After reviewing medical files of mothers and their children, cases were classified as confirmed or probable CS according to the case definition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Juliana Ramiandrisoa, Lydéric Aubert, Emilie B. Lespine, Jean-Luc Alessandri, Pierre-Yves Robillard, et al.. Congenital Syphilis, Réunion Island, 2010. Emerging Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011, 17 (11), pp.2082-2083. ⟨10.3201/eid1711.101925⟩. ⟨hal-01274609⟩

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