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Universal prenatal syphilis re-screening

June 30, 2009

In response to the ongoing provincial syphilis outbreak, Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Health Services have enhanced the provincial Prenatal Screening Program for Selected Communicable Diseases. This will ensure that pregnant women with infectious syphilis and their babies are identified and treated as soon as possible to reduce the consequences of syphilis infection in the baby.

All pregnant women should be screened for syphilis early in pregnancy, at mid-pregnancy, and again at the time of delivery. More frequent screening is recommended when there is concern about high-risk behaviours or when clinical symptoms suggest infectious syphilis.

Positive test results will be investigated by Alberta Health and Wellness STI Services and Alberta Health Services. Benzathine penicillin is provided by the province directly to physicians to treat syphilis.

Detailed information about syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections is available in Alberta’s Treatment Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in Adolescents and Adults 2008. Extra copies are available through STI Services (780-427-2830) or on the Internet at

Originally published in the June 30, 2009, issue of The Link