Re-screening for syphilis at the time of delivery in areas of high prevalence

S Afr Med J. 1993 Oct;83(10):725-6.


Two hundred women who were screened for syphilis at their initial antenatal visit were rescreened at the time of delivery. Umbilical cord blood specimens as well as maternal sera were tested. Twenty-two (11%) women were rapid plasma reagin (RPR)-positive at booking, while a total of 23 (12%) were RPR-positive at the time of delivery, including an additional 5 (3%) who seroconverted. Four women who were RPR-positive at initial testing had become negative by the time of delivery following treatment. Of all neonates born to seropositive women, only 1 demonstrated clinical evidence of congenital syphilis. In view of the high seroconversion rate, we recommend screening for syphilis at the initial antenatal visit and rescreening at the time of delivery in areas such as ours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mass Screening*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Prevalence
  • Reagins
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / epidemiology*
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis / methods
  • Syphilis, Congenital / prevention & control*


  • Reagins