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January 8, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the Syphilis Division of the Medical Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

JAMA. 1938;110(2):96-100. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790020010004

Few things in syphilotherapy are more disconcerting, both to physician and to patient, than the persistence of a positive serologic reaction after the administration of an amount of treatment which to the former was recommended as adequate and which to the latter has seemed of interminable length and the source of immeasurable inconvenience and expense. The physician confronted with this situation may doubt the validity of the dicta of experts which he has been following and begin to tinker with different schemes of treatment or even with untried therapeutic agents; the patient, deprived of this much emphasized and to him always tangible evidence of improvement, may become discouraged and abandon treatment or fall into the hands of quacks. For these reasons an examination of the subject of seroresistant syphilis seems more than justified.

There is no generally accepted definition of seroresistance (so-called Wassermann fastness), but most observers agree that the