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Article
March 1917

ON THE RELIABILITY OF THE WASSERMANN REACTIONA STUDY OF THE SOURCES OF ERROR AND AN ATTEMPT TO STANDARDIZE THE TECHNIC

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK

From the Department of Bacteriology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1917;XIX(3):457-492. doi:10.1001/archinte.1917.00080220124009
Abstract

In the last few years several articles1 have appeared reporting inconsistencies between the results of different laboratories on the Wassermann reactions of identical specimens of blood and tending to throw doubt on the diagnostic value of the Wassermann reaction. To show that this state of affairs was becoming one of great practical significance one. need only refer to the fact that in 1915 a committee was summoned by Dr. Haven Emerson, then deputy commissioner (now commissioner) of health of New York City, to consider the whole question of the reliability of the Wassermann reaction, and to attempt to standardize the technic. One of the particular reasons for the formation of the committee was the use of the Wassermann reaction by the department of health in the medicolegal examination of certain persons, such as food handlers. This committee, composed of serologists in charge of Wassermann reactions in large New

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