Treponema pallidum infection among women with macerated stillbirth in Mwanza Tanzania: an underestimated tragedy in Tanzania

  • Rose A Malisa
  • Edgard Ndaboine
  • Elieza Chibwe
  • Fridolin Mujuni
  • Helmut Nyawale
  • Majigo Mtebe
  • Stephen E Mshana
  • Mariam M Mirambo
Keywords: Treponema pallidum; macerated stillbirth; Mwanza; Tanzania.


Background: Treponema pallidum is one of the commonest cause of stillbirths world-wide. This study investigated the magnitude of T. pallidum among women with macerated stillbirth in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 301 women with macerated stillbirths attending selected health facilities in the region of Mwanza was conducted between October-2017 and March-2018. Detection of T. pallidum was done using venereal diseases research laboratory (VDRL) and T. pallidum hemagglutination test (TPHA). Data were analyzed by the STATA
version 13.

Results: The median age of the enrolled women was 27 (IQR: 22 - 34) years. Eighteen (6.0%, 95% CI: 3.0-8.0) of women were T. pallidum seropositive. Seropositivity of T. pallidum was significantly higher among women residing in rural areas than urban areas (p=0.010), and among HIV seropositive than HIV seronegative women (p=0.036). By multivariable regression analysis, the odds of being T. pallidum seropositive were significantly high among women with positive HIV serostatus (OR: 3.9, 95% CI: 1.2-14.1, p=0.036) and those residing in rural areas (OR: 5.6, 95% CI: 1.5-20.3, p=0.010).

Conclusion: Seropositivity of T. pallidum is higher among women with macerated stillbirth than in normal pregnant women as previously reported which calls for the need to improve screening services in rural areas of Tanzania.

Keywords: Treponema pallidum; macerated stillbirth; Mwanza; Tanzania.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905