The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all women perform prenatal tests for syphilis. The number of infections in the United States has in fact doubled between 2012 and 2016. The disease is therefore a real danger, which risks involving adults and even newborns. The proof lies in the increase in cases of congenital syphilis.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease, but it is possible that the mother will infect the fetus during childbirth. In this case we talk about congenital syphilis, a condition linked to neonatal death. In 2012, 8.4 cases were recorded for every 100,000 newborns. In 2016, the number rose to 15.7 cases per 100,000 new births.
The number that is more scary is another, though. A 2014 study reported that 20% of pregnant women with syphilis had not received any prenatal treatment. Among those who had been diagnosed, 30% had received inadequate treatment. In addition, 43% had not received any specific treatment for syphilis, despite general prenatal care.
In view of the data collected, the USPSTF recommends repeated screening throughout the gestation. Only one screening in the first trimester may be insufficient, especially in the case of high-risk individuals. The Task Force recommends pushing the test especially among women with drug stories and sexually transmitted diseases. In the case of the United States, therefore, it would be good for health insurances to include screening against syphilis among the services offered.