Inequalities in congenital syphilis trends in the city of Niterói, Brazil, 2007-2016

Heringer et al.


To describe the temporal distribution and epidemiologic characteristics of congenital syphilis (CS) cases in the city of Niterói, southeastern Brazil, from 2007 to 2016.


This descriptive time series analysis of the incidence of CS used data from the Notifiable Diseases Information System (SINAN) and the Live Birth Information System (SINASC). The sample included all notified cases. A probabilistic matching was performed between SINAN and SINASC data to recover ignored information. The time series was estimated using logarithmic regression according to sociodemographic and prenatal care variables.


There were 754 identified cases of CS in the study period (mean incidence: 11.9 cases/1 000 live births). The incidence was higher in younger women (10 to 19; 20 to 24 years) and in those with black skin, low schooling, and without prenatal care. Of the overall group, only 57.6% received a diagnosis of syphilis during prenatal care. Treatment was not adequate in 87,7%, and only 12.2% of partners were treated. SC incidence presented a growing trend of 16%/year, reaching 23.2 cases/1 000 living births in 2016. This growth was especially marked in female adolescents (25.2%/year), brown race/skin color (16.8%/year), women with low schooling (57.1%/year) and women who received prenatal care (17.3%/year); and, from 2012 to 2016, in women without information on skin color.


Social inequalities were linked to CS in the present sample. Also, increasing CS incidence was detected in youth. Health care professionals must be trained to manage gestational syphilis, and public policies must effectively address the social determinants of this condition.

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