A Population-based Serosurveillance of Syphilis in Costa Rica
Larsen, Sandra A.
Oberle, Mark W.
Sánchez Braverman, Juana M.
Rosero Bixby, Luis
Vetter, Kathleen M.
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As part of a case-control study to investigate the high incidence of cervical cancer in Costa Rican women, the seroprevalence of the treponematoses, in particular, syphilis was determined. In each age group, women with a history of two or more sex partners were two to four times more likely to be seroreactive in tests for s[spacing grave]philis than women with zero or one sex partner. The highest percentage of reactive results in the microhemagglutination assay for antibodies to Treponema pallidum (MHA-TP) was seen in samples from women aged 50-59 who had had two or more lifetime partners (23.8%). Three observations from our study support reactivity due to syphilis rather than yaws or pinta: (1) a similar percent of reactive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) card test results among MHA-TP reactors in the two age groups of women who were surveyed (42 vs. 49%) was observed; (2) women who were seroreactive in the MHA-TP had multiple risk factors for STD [low socioeconomic status (9.4%), urban residence (22.8%), first intercourse under 16 years of age (14.1%), and multiple sex partners (26.3%)], and (3) only sexually experienced women had reactive results in the MHA-TP test.