22 Sep 2003

Syphilis rate in newborns worries health officials in the Marshalls

8:25 am on 22 September 2003

A dramatic increase in the rate of babies born with syphilis is worrying health officials in the Marshall Islands.

Ten per cent of the approximately 1500 babies born in Majuro annually are reported to have contracted the disease from their mothers.

Half of these babies are being born to women who are not attending hospital for prenatal clinic services.

Majuro Hospital does routine blood tests on all pregnant women who attend prenatal clinics, so syphilis can be detected at an early stage and treated to prevent further complications for newborn children.