POSITIVE Wassermann reactions rarely occur in the spinal fluid in the absence of syphilitic involvement of the central nervous system. "False positive" reactions of the spinal fluid have been observed1 in patients with meningitis of bacterial or virus origin, especially in persons with a positive Wassermann reaction of the serum, and it has been assumed that the normal barrier between the blood and the central nervous system may be impaired by the meningeal inflammation, permitting the passage of reagin from the serum into the spinal fluid. The positive Wassermann reactions of the spinal fluid of these patients reversed after the symptoms of meningitis subsided.
Lately, we examined the spinal fluid of 16 newborn infants with syphilis. In 4 infants the results were completely normal; in 4 a positive Wassermann reaction with a high cell count, a high protein value and an abnormal colloidal gold curve were found and a
KALZ F, FRIEDMAN H, SCHENKER A, FISCHER I. PERMEABILITY OF BLOOD-SPINAL FLUID BARRIER IN INFANTS AND IN NORMAL AND SYPHILITIC ADULTS. Arch NeurPsych. 1946;56(1):55–64. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archneurpsyc.1946.02300180065005
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.