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Syphilis specific antibodies in newborn infants in Lower Saxony, Germany 1993–2001
  1. U Steuerwald,
  2. J Sander,
  3. S Sander,
  4. N Janzen,
  5. M Andree
  1. Neonatal Screening-Laboratory, Hannover, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Ulrike Steuerwald, Screening-Labor Hannover, PF 911009, D-30430 Hannover, Germany;
    usteuerwald{at}compuserve.com

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In 1979, a test to detect syphilis specific antibodies was added to the neonatal screening programme for metabolic diseases in Lower Saxony.1 We report test results for the period 1993 to the end of 2001 (684 156 samples). Analysis of data included calculation of annual incidence rates, dependency of maternal age, and birth weight of infants on the incidence of positive results.

Neonatal screening for syphilis specific antibodies does not aim (and is not able) to diagnose congenital syphilis. The goal of our test is to remind physicians responsible for the infants of the positive history of the mother, so they can check whether sufficient treatment of the maternal infection can be proved or whether further measures are necessary.2

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