Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 216-

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


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

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Mahmood Dhahir Al-Mendalawi
P.O. Box 55302, Baghdad Post Office, Baghdad
Iraq




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;37:216-216


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 Sep 21 ];37:216-216
Available from: https://www.tjogonline.com/text.asp?2020/37/1/216/292023


Full Text



Sir,

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.

Financial support and sponsorship

None.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Opone 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.
2Gayet-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.
3Zhou C, Zhang X1, Zhang W, Duan J, Zhao F. PCR detection for syphilis diagnosis: Status and prospects. J Clin Lab Anal 2019;33:e22890.
4Chun 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.
5Omatola 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.