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Regular Departments
July 1969


Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin Medical Center 1300 University Ave Madison, Wis 53706; University of Michigan Medical Center Ann Arbor, Mich

Arch Dermatol. 1969;100(1):122-124. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610250128042

To the Editor.—  The impression that we obtained during our research on the history of malignant syphilis1 reviewed from 1494 to 1948, was that one of the features that may characterize this rare form of secondary syphilis is that the serology may initially be negative or late in becoming positive. This view was not supported by Fisher et al2 in their report on "Lues Maligna" in the January Archives of Dermatology 1969. They stated that a strongly reactive serology was characteristic. We are offering the following evidence, admittedly historical, that in syphilis maligna the serology is often initially negative but becomes positive late in this secondary stage or after treatment has begun.First it must be reemphasized that lues maligna has become increasingly rare with time. The term malignant in association with a syphilide was first emphasized by Bazin's pupil Dubuc,3 in Paris in 1864, although this

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