[Congenital syphilis incidence disparities in Colombia 2005 to 2011: an ecological study]

Rev Salud Publica (Bogota). 2012 Oct;14(6):968-81.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: Syphilis is a systemic, infecto-contagious, sexually-transmitted disease caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum. Interventions reducing congenital syphilis incidence represent two of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Diagnostic and treatment methods are available for managing congenital syphilis; even so, variations occur in seroprevalence and the number of annual cases worldwide, so the situation continues to be worrying. This study was aimed at describing disparities per department regarding congenital syphilis incidence in Colombia from 2005 to 2011.

Methodology: Colombian Institute of Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud-INS) surveillance system records and Colombian Statistics Department (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística-DANE) records of live births (LB) and basic unsatisfied needs (BUN) from 2005 to 2011 were analyzed. Results Overall incidence in Colombia rose from 2.15 cases per 1,000 LB in 2005, (1,550 cases) to 3.28 cases per 1,000 LB in 2011 (2,078 cases), thereby moving further away from the MDG (0.5 per 1,000 LB).

Conclusions: The growing number of cases of congenital syphilis indicates that this continues being a priority problem for public health and that the Overall Healthcare-related Social Security System (OHSSS) has not been able to resolve it, in spite of increased coverage and the resources which this entity has received during the last few years. Such situation demands a re-evaluation of the OHSSS's real impact on public healthcare results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Syphilis, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors