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December 26, 1936


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1936;107(26):2123-2131. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.92770520004009

This is one of a series of articles written by eminent clinicians for the purpose of extending information concerning the official medicines. The twenty-four articles in this series have been planned and developed through the cooperation of the U. S. Pharmacopeial Committee of Revision andThe Journal of the American Medical Association.—Ed.

In syphilis there is an active, motile organism which requires moisture and tissue for its further spread and vitality. It is well known that Spirochaeta pallida dies within one-half hour if exposed on a dry surface; e. g., a glass slide. On the other hand, if anywhere on the body the organism gains entrance into the skin, through a bruise, a cut or a crack, an infection will probably occur. Of this there is not absolute surety, for it is possible that certain individuals may have some resistance to the disease, perhaps enough at least to word off an