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Syphilis testing adherence among women with livebirth deliveries: Indianapolis 2014-2016.

Ojo OC, Arno JN, Tao G, Patel CG, Dixon BE. Syphilis testing adherence among women with livebirth deliveries: Indianapolis 2014-2016. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2021 Oct 30; 21(1):739.

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BACKGROUND: The number of congenital syphilis (CS) cases in the United States are increasing. Effective prevention of CS requires routine serologic testing and treatment of infected pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing all pregnant women at their first prenatal visit and subsequent testing at 28 weeks gestation and delivery for women at increased risk. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study of syphilis testing among pregnant women with a livebirth delivery from January 2014 to December 2016 in Marion County, Indiana. We extracted and linked maternal and infant data from the vital records in a local health department to electronic health records available in a regional health information exchange. We examined syphilis testing rates and factors associated with non-testing among women with livebirth delivery. We further examined these rates and factors among women who reside in syphilis prevalent areas. RESULTS: Among 21260 pregnancies that resulted in livebirths, syphilis testing in any trimester, including delivery, increased from 71.7% in 2014 to 86.6% in 2016. The number of maternal syphilis tests administered only at delivery decreased from 16.6% in 2014 to 4.04% in 2016. Among women living in areas with high syphilis rates, syphilis screening rates increased from 79.6% in 2014 to 94.2% in 2016. CONCLUSION: Improvement in prenatal syphilis screening is apparent and encouraging, yet roughly 1-in-10 women do not receive syphilis screening during pregnancy. Adherence to recommendations set out by CDC improved over time. Given increasing congenital syphilis cases, the need for timely diagnoses and prevention of transmission from mother to fetus remains a priority for public health.

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