When one is dealing with an infectious disease, demonstration of the causative agent is always desirable in order to establish the diagnosis. The necessity for demonstrating the organism varies inversely with the vividness of the clinical picture presented by the patient. A new-born syphilitic child is usually free of symptoms during the first few days or weeks of life.1 Hence, the demonstration of Spirochaeta pallida, were this possible, would be a valuable diagnostic aid.
Obtaining material in which to demonstrate spirochetes from a living child suspected of having syphilis presents a problem which is often insurmountable. It is true that spirochetes have been shown to be present in the blood stream,2 the nasal secretion,3 the conjunctival secretion,4 syphilitic cutaneous lesions, the urine2c and in the meconium5 of syphilitic infants, but in most instances the infant in whom the causative micro-organism is found has manifest clinical
INGRAHAM NR. CONGENITAL SYPHILIS: DIAGNOSIS BY MEANS OF DARK-FIELD EXAMINATION OF SCRAPINGS FROM THE UMBILICAL VEIN. JAMA. 1935;105(8):560–563. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760340006003
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