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April 5, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(1):55. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080140061018

The first cures of syphilis with penicillin were reported in 1943.1 Subsequently penicillin has become the drug of choice in treating all stages of syphilis and has greatly simplified the treatment of this disease. However, a challenge to the efficacy of penicillin as a spirocheticidal agent has been offered. In 1962 Collart et al2 reported the persistence of an organism resembling Treponema pallidum in a group of humans after treatment of late syphilis. In nine men and women, reactive by T pallidum immobilization (TPI) testing and previously treated for late syphilis with penicillin and other drugs, the investigators reported the presence of spiral forms they considered to be T pallidum. Excised inguinal nodes were studied with silver staining techniques and, in some cases, animal transfer. Virulence was reported in three of these cases. The important implications of this report led to additional research, with the use of a recently

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