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The recent prevalence of syphilis as claimed by the propaganda arising from the United States Public Health Service was outright astounding to me. During twenty-four years of endeavor as a medical student and worker in laboratory medicine, in the course of which time thousands of postmortem examinations, examinations of surgical specimens and serum tests for syphilis were both accomplished personally and personally directed, I have witnessed syphilis in four sections of the country dwindle from a common experience with full blown active lesions to an occasional positive serologic test, a few scars of the aorta, a rare scarred liver presumably syphilitic, a slightly more frequent syphilis scarred central nervous system, and about twice a year an actual case of congenital syphilis.
I had not insisted on a routine serologic test for syphilis because syphilis rarely was evident at postmortem and surgical specimen examinations, in the run of clinical cases, in
HANSMANN GH. SYPHILIS: WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE INCIDENCE IN RELATIONSHIP TO AGE GROUPS AND STATUS OF THERAPY AT THE DATE OF INFECTION. JAMA. 1939;112(18):1796–1798. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800180020007
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