What is Congenital Syphilis?

What is congenital syphilis?

Congenital syphilis is a disease that can be passed to a baby during pregnancy or childbirth when the mother has syphilis, a bacterial infection. If untreated, early syphilis infections may result in a high risk of poor pregnancy outcomes.

Some babies with congenital syphilis have symptoms at birth, but many develop symptoms later. Newborns may present with signs of secondary syphilis. So, if you find symptoms like generalized body rash in your baby, please take him or her to the hospital.

Classification and Corresponding Symptoms


Early congenital syphilis mainly occurs in children between 0 and 2 years old. Symptomatic babies are born premature with an enlarged liver and spleen, skeletal abnormalities, pneumonia and other signs.


By definition, it occurs in children who acquired the infection trough placenta at or over 2 years of age.

Newborns with late congenital syphilis may develop symptoms include:

  • deafness
  • Hutchinson’s teeth, referring to the blunted upper incisor teeth
  • saddle nose
  • hard palate defect
  • skin rashes
  • swollen knees


For the pregnant mother identified as infected with syphilis, remember to receive a treatment as soon as possible. Chances are that timely treatment works to prevent the disease from developing in the fetus and from passing it to the baby. The diagnosed infants need to be treated with antibiotics, specifically penicillin before the development of late symptoms.

If you are not sure about your treatments, please go to see a doctor for professional help.

Keywords: congenital syphilis; classification; symptoms; treatment

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.