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November 30, 1963

Biological False-Positive Reactions in Mononucleosis

JAMA. 1963;186(9):874. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710090074024

To the Editor:  —In the paper entitled "False-Positive Serology in Mononucleosis," which appeared in the Sept 7 issue of The Journal (185:783), Col Robert J. Hoagland, MC, USA, is to be commended on his personal accumulation of 300 consecutive cases in view of the critical diagnostic criteria laid down.His conclusion that the incidence of biological false-positive (BEP) reactions in serologic tests for syphilis in this entity is only 0.66% requires explanation. This is especially true since he indicates that the frequently quoted high incidence (approximately 20%) may have arisen from "uncritical repetition of statements by earlier writers."The incidence of BFP reactions1 in any disease entity depends on a variety of factors including (1) the number of serologic tests performed, (2) the frequency with which the test is done during the course of an illness, (3) the stage of the illness, and (4) the type of test