Is antenatal screening for syphilis still necessary?

Congenital syphilis continues to present a significant public health problem worldwide. The cornerstone of prevention of congenital syphilis is antenatal screening and treatment of affected mothers with penicillin. If untreated, symptoms develop within weeks or months. Early congenital syphilis occurs in children between 0 and 2 years old, however newborns may be asymptomatic and are only identified on routine screening. If such infants are missed and untreated, they can develop late congenital syphilis after 2 years. Syphilis is known as the “Great Imitator” and congenital syphilis can present as neurosyphilis, juvenile paresis, optic atrophy, blindness, progressive sensorineural deafness, dental and skeletal abnormalities.