Epidemic of congenital syphilis--Baltimore, 1996-1997

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1998 Oct 30;47(42):904-7.


In 1996 and 1997, Baltimore, Maryland, had the highest rate for primary and secondary syphilis among U.S. cities. From 1993 to 1996, the rate for congenital syphilis (CS) in Baltimore increased from 62 to 282 per 100,000 live-born infants. To assess the magnitude of the syphilis epidemic in pregnant women and to identify ways to improve CS prevention, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), and CDC analyzed CS surveillance data for and reviewed medical records of pregnant women with syphilis. This report summarizes the results of this investigation, which indicated that 90% of cases could have been prevented by adequate prenatal care and more timely syphilis screening and treatment

MeSH terms

  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / prevention & control*
  • Syphilis, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Syphilis, Congenital / prevention & control