Objectives: After a syphilis epidemic in Jefferson County, Texas, in 1993 and 1994, congenital syphilis prevalence and risk factors were determined and local prenatal syphilis screening practices were assessed.
Methods: Medical records were reviewed, pregnant women with syphilis were interviewed, and prenatal care providers were surveyed.
Results: Of 91 women, 59 (65%) had infants with congenital syphilis. Among African Americans, the prevalence per 1000 live births was 24.1 in 1994 and 17.9 in 1995. Of the 50 women with at least 2 prenatal care visits who had infants with congenital syphilis, 15 (30%) had received inadequate testing. Only 16% of 31 providers obtained an early third-trimester syphilis test on all patients.
Conclusions: Inadequate prenatal testing contributed to this outbreak of congenital syphilis.