Gestational and congenital syphilis situation in Colombia, a challenge to the General system of Social Security in Health

  • Adriana Raquel Cruz-Concha


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Treponema Pallidum, and is considered a serious public health problem as it affects more than 12 million people worldwide. It is estimated that over two million pregnant women are infected with syphilis each year worldwide, and a significant number of cases (692,100 to 1,53 million), are untreated (1). When it occurs in pregnant women it is easily transmitted to the fetus, causing complications in up to 81% of cases, including stillbirth, early neonatal death , prematurity, low birth weight or congenital infection (2).

In Colombia, gestational and congenital syphilis is notifiable, and the figures reported by the System of Public Health Surveillance (sivigila, for its acronym in Spanish), are among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2011 Colombia reported 2.9 cases of congenital syphilis / 1000 live births (3), a value which is worth almost six times higher than the target set by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in its Elimination of Congenital Syphilis Plan (2, 4). The Colombian Pacific coast provides the country with a significant number of cases each year, being the port of Buenaventura, in Valle del Cauca, one of the worst affected areas, reporting on 2010, 141 cases of congenital syphilis, nine of which ended in a fatal outcome (5).

Biografía del autor/a

Adriana Raquel Cruz-Concha
Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas (CIDEIM)


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