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Increase in congenital syphilis in Brazil

Brazil recorded 183,000 cases of congenital syphilis (transmitted from mother to baby) between 2013 and 2019. About 45% of these cases occurred in the Southeast, according to a survey by researchers at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), and the disease killed 2,400 children. The sexually transmitted infection is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Only 21% of women received adequate treatment (Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, March 16). In São Paulo, there were 6.6 times as many cases of congenital syphilis in 2017 than in 2007, mainly due to failures in the monitoring of infected expectant mothers. This is the conclusion of a study led by Mellina Yamamura, a nurse from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). The state also recorded an 8.6-fold increase in syphilis cases in pregnant women (Scientific Reports, January 12).