During 2014–2018, reported congenital syphilis (CS) cases in the United States increased 183%, from 462 to 1306 cases. We reviewed infants diagnosed with CS beyond the neonatal period (>28 days) during this time.
We reviewed surveillance case report data for infants with CS delivered during 2014–2018 and identified those diagnosed beyond the neonatal period with reported signs or symptoms. We describe these infants and identify possible missed opportunities for earlier diagnoses.
Of the 3834 reported cases of CS delivered during 2014–2018, we identified 67 symptomatic infants diagnosed beyond the neonatal period. Among those with reported findings, 67% had physical examination findings of CS, 69% had abnormal long-bone radiographs consistent with CS, and 36% had reactive syphilis testing in the cerebrospinal fluid. The median serum nontreponemal titer was 1:256 (range: 1:1–1:2048). The median age at diagnosis was 67 days (range: 29–249 days). Among the 66 mothers included, 83% had prenatal care, 26% had a syphilis diagnosis during pregnancy or at delivery, and 42% were not diagnosed with syphilis until after delivery. Additionally, 24% had an initial negative test result and seroconverted during pregnancy.
Infants with CS continue to be undiagnosed at birth and present with symptoms after age 1 month. Pediatric providers can diagnose and treat infants with CS early by following guidelines, reviewing maternal records and confirming maternal syphilis status, advocating for maternal testing at delivery, and considering the diagnosis of CS, regardless of maternal history.