USPSTF Recommends Screening for Syphilis in Pregnancy

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Universal screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women reduces the incidence of congenital syphilis.
Universal screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women reduces the incidence of congenital syphilis.

HealthDay News — The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that there is considerable net benefit to screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement, published by the USPSTF.

Researchers from the USPSTF conducted a systematic review to examine the evidence for the effectiveness of screening to reduce the incidence of congenital syphilis or other adverse pregnancy outcomes of syphilis, and the harms of screening in pregnancy.

The researchers found that there was adequate evidence that screening tests can accurately detect syphilis infection in pregnant women. 

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Convincing evidence was found that universal screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women reduces the incidence of congenital syphilis and adverse outcomes associated with maternal infection. Although screening pregnant women for syphilis may result in potential harms, including anxiety and harms of treatment with antibiotic medications, it was concluded that these were no greater than small. Therefore, the USPSTF concludes that there is considerable net benefit for screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement, which is available for comment from February 6 to March 5, 2018.

"It's important to screen early in pregnancy, when treatment is most effective in preventing the baby from getting syphilis," Task Force member Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, said in a statement.

Reference

Screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women: a reaffirmation evidence update for the US preventive services task force [press release]. Rockville, MD: United States Preventive Services Task Force. Accessed February 13, 2018.

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