Seroprevalence of Treponema Pallidum antibody among pregnant population of Bangladesh

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2011 Nov;37(11):1625-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01587.x. Epub 2011 Jul 6.


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence of antibody to Treponema pallidum among pregnant women and its association with age, sexual behavior and socioeconomic status.

Materials and methods: In this cross-sectional study, 1266 sera were collected from pregnant women attending Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Rajshahi, Khulna and Chittagong Medical College Hospitals between February 2007 and April 2008. From each hospital, samples were collected from about a quarter of the total recruited pregnant women. Sera were tested to identify the antibody to T. pallidum using Treponema pallidum hemagglutination at the Virology Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. Logistic regression was used to explore potential risk factors for syphilis.

Results: Among 1250 sera tested (16 sera were discarded due to hemolysis), 37 (2.96%) were positive for T. pallidum antibody. Higher seropositivity was associated with couples with no formal education, low socioeconomic status (P = 0.006), marriage at or before 18 years of age (P = 0.002), multiple marriages of the husband (P = 0.031) and sexual activity for more than 10 years (P = 0.007). Among these factors, low education level of women, early age of marriage and multiple marriages of the husband showed individual effects on high seropositivity to T. pallidum.

Conclusions: The high seroprevalence of syphilis among pregnant women attending the antenatal clinics of these hospitals indicates the need for the incorporation of screening for syphilis in routine antenatal screening in Bangladesh. Improvement of education level in the female population, prevention of early marriage and preventing polygamy of husbands may play an important role in prevention of syphilis among women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Class
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Syphilis / immunology
  • Treponema pallidum / immunology*