An uncommon cause of neonatal respiratory distress

Turk J Pediatr. 2010 Nov-Dec;52(6):642-4.


We describe a term infant without any features of congenital infection, who presented with respiratory distress at birth. Respiratory distress persisted despite change of antibiotics, and chest radiography showed bilateral diffuse patchy infiltrates. Congenital infections screening obtained on the 10th day of life was reported positive for syphilis. The infant was started on penicillin G and came off oxygen within five days. Although the presentation of congenital syphilis as pneumonitis in the absence of other clinical signs is unusual, in view of the re-emergence of the disease, syphilitic involvement of the lungs should be considered in any infant presenting with persistent diffuse lung disease of unknown etiology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Penicillin G / administration & dosage
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / etiology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / microbiology
  • Syphilis, Congenital / complications*
  • Syphilis, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillin G