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Establishing the characteristics of pregnant women with syphilis to inform targeted interventions to reduce congenital syphilis
  1. Ella Heath1,
  2. Sylvia Bates2,
  3. Tana Green3
  1. 1 Medical School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2 Spectrum Community Health CIC, Barnsley, UK
  3. 3 Spectrum Community Health CIC, Wakefield, SD, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ella Heath, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK; eheath1{at}

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Syphilis is an increasing problem in the UK. Between 2010 and 2019, diagnostic rates tripled and 2019 reported the highest number of cases since the 1940s.1 This has also meant a rise in the number of cases detected in pregnancy.2 Public Health England (PHE) currently recommends serological testing for syphilis at the first antenatal appointment.1 If the pregnant patient is deemed at high risk of contracting syphilis, PHE also recommend retesting in their third trimester with the aim of starting treatment at least 30 days before delivery.1

This study was undertaken to identify the characteristics of women testing positive for syphilis in pregnancy across Barnsley and Wakefield between January 2016 and January 2021. A literature review of potential strategies to prevent congenital syphilis was also undertaken. The project used routinely collected and anonymised data. Therefore, it is a service review with registration at Spectrum Sexual Health Services.

Since 2016, 31 women have been diagnosed with syphilis during pregnancy. Five of these women were from …

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  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Contributors The planning was completed by EH, TG and SB. The conduction of data collection was collected by TG and SB. The data analysis was conducted by EH. The reporting of the paper was completed by EH. EH, SB and TG are responsible for the overall content as a guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.