The baby can become infected in the womb of the mother. Sometimes he is born dead at 5-6 months of pregnancy or born prematurely alive. A full-term baby with clinical manifestations of the disease or with a latent infection may also be born. Manifestations of congenital syphilis usually do not occur immediately after birth, but during the first 3 months of life. However, from the very beginning, certain features are noticeable in the appearance and behavior of the sick child, who, in the "classic" cases, looks like a "little old man." This is a dystrophic man with a large head and exhausted body, pale, earthy skin. He is anxious, screams for no apparent reason, develops poorly, gains little weight, despite the absence of gastrointestinal upsets. In the first days or weeks of life, bubbles (syphilitic pemphigus) surrounded by a crimson rim may appear on his palms and soles. Their contents are initially transparent, then becomes purulent and bloody, then the covers of the blisters dry out into crusts. Around the mouth and on the forehead, the skin tightens in places, becomes shiny, crimson, cracking when the baby cries or sucks, leaving scars located radially in the corners of the mouth. Often spots or nodules appear on the trunk, buttocks, limbs. In places of friction and natural folds, they sometimes get wet, ulcerate. In the first weeks of life, the so-called "syphilitic runny nose" occurs, the nasal passages narrow sharply, breathing becomes difficult, and sucking is almost impossible if you do not carefully clean the baby’s nose before each feeding. In more severe cases, ulcers can form - not only on the nasal mucosa, but also on the cartilage and bone of the nasal septum. At the same time, it collapses, and the shape of the nose changes ("saddle", "blunt", "goat" nose).
The defeat of the internal organs begins in utero. The liver is enlarged, dense, subsequently its cirrhosis may develop. The spleen is also usually enlarged and tightened. Severe pneumonia is possible, and then the child dies either before birth, or shortly after it. Less commonly, the kidneys and other organs are affected.
With congenital syphilis, bones are altered. The handle or leg lies motionless, as paralyzed, as the slightest movement causes the displacement of the deformed bones, causing acute pain. At the place of their separation, all the signs of a fracture are revealed: swelling, pain, etc. These fractures received a special name by the name of the author who described them: pseudo-paralysis (or false paralysis) of Parro. Serious changes can occur in the central nervous system. The “causeless” cry of a child, regardless of food intake, is one of the symptoms of syphilitic meningitis. Attacks of seizures can occur, usually passing without a trace, but sometimes leaving strabismus and semi-paralysis of the limbs, signs of dropsy of the brain (hydrocephalus), leading to increased intracranial pressure and an increase in the volume of the skull.
Nowadays, a child with congenital syphilis is born most often on time, with normal weight and without visible manifestations of the disease. During the examination, only an increase in the liver and spleen, changes in the bones (osteochondritis) and positive blood reactions to syphilis can be detected. Sometimes the latter are the only sign of a congenital disease, which is then called congenital latent syphilis. The disease can also be detected for the first time at an older age - after 2 years (late congenital syphilis). During this period, eye damage that quickly leads to blindness, ear damage, accompanied by sudden and irreversible deafness, and a change in the shape of the upper teeth (incisors) are possible. The special structure of the tibia is characteristic ("saber-shaped tibia").
It is scary to become infected with syphilis. But it’s even worse to infect your own child with it. Therefore, we must first of all - reduce to a minimum the very probability of this. Often husbands, when the wife is "in position", allow themselves casual, dubious relationships, not realizing the whole measure of responsibility for the fate of the child. It happens that women themselves become infected with syphilis through extramarital affairs and, deciding on motherhood, they are not aware of this. No need to risk the health of the unborn child. If there are any rashes on the body, any changes in the skin and mucous membranes on the genitals, you need to consult a dermatovenerologist in your mouth, regardless of the results of a blood test during pregnancy.
Congenital syphilis in the past was widespread: at the beginning of the 20th century, children accounted for up to 1/4 of syphilis patients. Currently, cases of congenital syphilis are rare - almost exclusively in children whose mothers were not registered in the antenatal clinic. If the disease is detected on time, with proper treatment in the first 25 weeks of pregnancy, the baby is born healthy. At a later date, he may have certain signs of infection.
Some women who have had syphilis in the past are afraid to have children. If treatment was carried out before pregnancy, and serological reactions became negative, fears are unnecessary, but nevertheless it is necessary to carry out preventive treatment during pregnancy, which prevents the possibility of infection in the child.