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Inexpensive Test, Treatment For Syphilis Could Save Nearly 1M Infants Annually

An inexpensive test and single-dose treatment could help save the lives of nearly one million infants annually if pregnant women in low-income countries were offered rapid tests for syphilis, experts from the Global Congenital Syphilis Partnership said on Thursday, Reuters reports. “A team of researchers led by Rosanna Peeling and David Mabey at the [London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)] found in a study due to be published soon that introducing rapid tests to increase access to syphilis screening was both feasible and cost effective,” the news agency writes.

According to experts, more than two million pregnant women are infected with syphilis each year, and more than half pass the infection on to their infants, Reuters notes, adding that in Africa, the disease causes nearly 400,000 stillbirths and infant deaths annually. The syphilis partnership includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children, the WHO, the CDC and the LSHTM, according to the news agency (Kelland, 2/29).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.