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There is probably no modern means of diagnosis of greater importance than the Wassermann reaction. This not only enables one to be certain of the existence of syphilis in many doubtful conditions, but also to exclude syphilis in many cases where formerly it was suspected. It is the consensus of opinion at present that latent as well as active syphilis gives a positive response to this test. It is also the general belief that children who react positively should receive the benefit of antisyphilitic treatment.
Like all laboratory reactions, the Wassermann test is not infallible. Positive reactions may be obtained in certain cases of scarlet fever and in infection with trypanosomes; but neither of these conditions is very likely to be confused with syphilis. Negative reactions may be met with in syphilitic cases as a result of treatment, whether by mercury or salvarsan, and occasionally in other cases for unexplained
HOLT LE. THE WASSERMANN REACTION IN HEREDITARY SYPHILIS, IN CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES AND IN VARIOUS OTHER CONDITIONS IN INFANCY. Am J Dis Child. 1913;VI(3):166-170. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1913.04100330024003