Congenital neurosyphilis presenting as neonatal sepsis


  • Wedi Iskandar Group of Medical Staff for Child Health at Al Islam Hospital Bandung, Indonesia
  • Vidi Permatagalih Group of Medical Staff for Child Health at Al Islam Hospital Bandung, Indonesia
  • Aris Primadi Department of Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia
  • Uni Gamayani Dr. Hasan Sadikin General Hospital, Bandung, Indonesia



Neonates, neurosyphilis, sepsis


Introduction: Congenital syphilis involves any organs with various symptoms, including neurological signs. Neurosyphilis is a severe syphilis complication that can develop at any stage of illness.

Case presentation: A 2,520 g male infant was spontaneously born at term from an untreated syphilis mother. Physical examination revealed decreased consciousness, respiratory distress, seizure, but without neurologic abnormality sign. The serum and cerebrospinal fluid Venereal Disease Research Laboratory and Treponemal Pallidum Hemagglutination Assay TPHA tests titters were 1:16 and 1:1,280, respectively. The diagnosis at admission was respiratory failure and neonatal sepsis. The infant was mechanically ventilated and treated with early management of sepsis. Blood culture was sterile later on. Then, the infant was administered intramuscular benzathine penicillin G (50,000 units/kg/dose) for a total of three weeks. The infant's condition was improved during the treatment.

Conclusions: There are many challenges associated with screening and monitoring neurosyphilis in congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis presenting as sepsis is easily misdiagnosed as bacterial sepsis.




How to Cite

Iskandar W, Permatagalih V, Primadi A, Gamayani U (2022) Congenital neurosyphilis presenting as neonatal sepsis. J Infect Dev Ctries 16:1113–1117. doi: 10.3855/jidc.15662



Case Reports