Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 67-72.doi: 10.24920/003903

• Perspective • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of Syphilis: Chinese Practice before and during COVID-19 Pandemics

Fangzhi Du1, Ruili Zhang2, *(), Qianqiu Wang1, *()   

  1. 1Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, National Center for STD Control, China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanjing 210042, China
    2Department of Dermatology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210003, China
  • Received:2021-03-24 Accepted:2021-10-22 Published:2022-03-31 Online:2022-02-28
  • Contact: Ruili Zhang,Qianqiu Wang;

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of syphilis remains a leading cause of stillbirth and death among neonates in many developing countries. In 2007, World Health Orgernization launched the global elimination of MTCT (EMTCT) of syphilis. Given the high burden of congenital syphilis, China subsequently released the specific national EMTCT policies and programs to reduce MTCT of syphilis. The congenital syphilis incidence rate per 100,000 live births in China has markedly decreased from 69.9 in 2013 to 11.9 in 2019. However, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, the current measures for eliminating MTCT of syphilis are greatly challenged. In this article, we summarize the strategies and measures for the EMTCT of syphilis in China in the past 20 years, the remarkable achievements by the policy support under the leadership of the government. In the context of COVID-19 pandemics, strengthening emergency response to the regional outbreaks of COVID-19, adopting safe, rapid, early and high-quality clinical care for 100% of pregnant women to receive prenatal syphilis testing services, ensuring the availability of Benzathine penicillin for the treatment, and strengthening the closed-loop management of pregnant women and newborns infected with syphilis are the key measures to determine the effectiveness of MTCT for syphilis. Lessons from China may be valuable for other countries that are planning to eliminate MTCT of syphilis.

Key words: mother-to-child transmission, syphilis, COVID-19, China


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