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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 216

The prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria

Department of Paediatrics, Al-Kindy College of Medicine, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

Date of Submission20-Sep-2019
Date of Decision18-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance15-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Mahmood Dhahir Al-Mendalawi
P.O. Box 55302, Baghdad Post Office, Baghdad
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/TJOG.TJOG_91_19

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How to cite this article:
Al-Mendalawi MD. The prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol 2020;37:216

How to cite this URL:
Al-Mendalawi MD. The prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Oct 16];37:216. Available from: https://www.tjogonline.com/text.asp?2020/37/1/216/292023


I have two comments on the interesting study published by Opone et al.[1] in May-August 2019 issue of the Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

First, on employing serology, the authors found that the estimated prevalence of syphilis in a cohort of Nigerian pregnant was 1.98% and the prevalence rates in urban and rural areas were 2.63% and 1.32%, respectively.[1] Owing to the presence of the following limitation, I assume that the study results must be handled with cautions. It is worthy to mention that there are different methods to test for syphilis. Studies have shown that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique is superior to serology in precisely detecting syphilis.[2],[3] I presume that if the authors employed PCR instead of serology in the study methodology, more precise estimate of syphilis seroprevalence among Nigerian pregnant would be obtained.

Second, it is noteworthy that there are bidirectional relationships between infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and many sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis. On one hand, HIV could influence the clinical presentation, treatment outcome, and progression of syphilis. On the other hand, syphilis could increase both plasma and genital HIV RNA levels and, thus, exaggerating the transmissibility of syphilis.[4] Indeed, Nigeria is among the sub-Saharan countries involved substantially with HIV epidemic. The recently published data pointed out to the substantial HIV seroprevalence rate (8.5%) among pregnant.[5] The determination of HIV status in the studied cohort in Opone et al.'s study[1] by the diagnostic battery of viral overload and CD4 lymphocyte count measurement would have solicited. Hence, HIV reactivity must be regarded as an important exclusion criterion in the study methodology.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Opone CA, Abasiattai AM, Utuk MN, Bassey EA. The prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol 2019;36:224-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Gayet-Ageron A, Lautenschlager S, Ninet B, Perneger TV, Combescure C. Sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios of PCR in the diagnosis of syphilis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sex Transm Infect 2013;89:251-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zhou C, Zhang X1, Zhang W, Duan J, Zhao F. PCR detection for syphilis diagnosis: Status and prospects. J Clin Lab Anal 2019;33:e22890.  Back to cited text no. 3
Chun HM, Carpenter RJ, Macalino GE, Crum-Cianflone NF. The role of sexually transmitted infections in HIV-1 progression: A comprehensive review of the literature. J Sex Transm Dis 2013;2013:176459.  Back to cited text no. 4
Omatola CA, Lawal C, Omosayin DO, Okolo MO, Adaji DM, Mofolorunsho CK, et al. Seroprevalence of HBV, HCV, and HIV and associated risk factors among apparently healthy pregnant women in Anyigba, Nigeria. Viral Immunol 2019;32:186-91.  Back to cited text no. 5


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