Congenital Syphilis: Causes and Symptoms

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Congenital syphilis is a condition in which a pregnant women suffer from syphilis but not treated during pregnancy so that syphilis is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can also be infected with syphilis during labor.
Congenital Syphilis
The biggest risk of infecting the baby when the mother is in the early stages of syphilis. But the transmission of infection through the placenta still can occur at any time during pregnancy.

It is very important that pregnant women need to perform laboratory tests to detect syphilis. Baby's risk of getting syphilis is significantly reduced if the mother received treatment during pregnancy. If the mother is treated before the 16th week of pregnancy, the baby will usually not infected with syphilis.

If the infected mother does not receive treatment, the mother may have a miscarriage or the baby may be born to die, die shortly after birth, born early, or infected with syphilis.

Complications that can occur in infants whose mothers are infected and untreated syphilis include:
  • Flat nasal bridge (saddle nose / saddle nose), physical description that are characteristic of infants infected with syphilis.
  • Permanent incisors shaped pegs, widely spaced, and notched at the ends of the crescent-shaped deformity in the middle (grooved teeth or teeth Hutchinson).
  • Inflammation of the cornea, which can lead to blindness (interstitial keratitis).
  • Complications in the brain that are progressive and life-threatening (neurosyphilis).
  • Bone deformity.
Antibiotics can prevent disease progression in infected infants. But a growing problem might not be reversible.

If the baby lived the past 6 to 12 months and untreated, the disease can progress to the latent stage where no symptoms are present but complications can arise from time to time.

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