Single-dose benzathine penicillin in infants at risk of congenital syphilis--results of a randomised study

S Afr Med J. 1997 Jan;87(1):62-5.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of single-dose benzathine penicillin G in infants at high risk of congenital syphilis.

Design: Randomised study comparing benzathine penicillin with no therapy.

Setting: Peninsula Maternal and Neonatal Service, Cape Town.

Subjects: Asymptomatic infants born to mothers with untreated syphilis whose VDRL titre was 32 or more.

Outcome measures: The number of cases of congenital syphilis was determined by results of IgM Western blots and follow-up VDRL titres.

Results and conclusions: Of 8 patients followed up in the non-treatment group, 4 had congenital syphilis while 0/11 had the disease (P = 0.035) in the group receiving benzathine penicillin. Although the exact failure rate is unknown, benzathine penicillin is effective in preventing symptomatic congenital syphilis when administered to high-risk newborns.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / administration & dosage*
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / therapeutic use
  • Penicillins / administration & dosage*
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious
  • South Africa
  • Syphilis
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis
  • Syphilis, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Syphilis, Congenital / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Penicillins
  • Penicillin G Benzathine