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March 27, 1967

The Presence of Spirochetes in Late Seronegative Syphilis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Opthalmology, University of Miami (Fla) School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1967;199(13):980-984. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120130066011

Late seronegative syphilis refers to clinical signs of ocular or neurosyphilis in a patient whose routine blood (reagin) test is nonreactive, but in whom a specific treponemal test is reactive. This report documents the presence of spirochetes in aqueous humor, cerebrospinal fluid, and at liver biopsy in such patients. Spirochetes have been found in the aqueous humor with no biomicroscopic abnormality and in cerebrospinal fluids which had normal cell counts, protein levels, and reagin and colloidal gold test results. Identification of the organisms depends on use of the fluorescein antibody technique, in that spirochetes stain with fluorescein-tagged anti-Treponema pallidum globulin on ultraviolet microscopy.