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January 26, 1924


JAMA. 1924;82(4):299-301. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650300045012

The term visceral syphilis is generally employed as a pathologic notation covering a wide but not sharply defined anatomic field. In this discussion, it is used to designate syphilitic disease of any of the viscera of the thorax, abdomen, pelvis and scrotum.

The pathogenesis of syphilis in this particular field does not differ from that of the disease as a whole; the early general dissemination of Spirochaeta pallida involves these structures simultaneously with those in other parts of the body, but these tissue groups do appear to differ from others in the degree of susceptibility and reactivity to the invading organism. This assumption is based largely on the frequency with which visceral syphilis appears late in the course of the disease, and the extreme infrequency with which it becomes a clinical feature of early syphilis.

The existence of an exudative type of syphilitic inflammatory reaction in the viscera during the

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