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August 3, 1940


JAMA. 1940;115(5):386-387. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810310044011

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More and more states are passing laws requiring premarital examinations. Twenty of these laws require a physical examination of both sexes as well as blood tests for syphilis. Antepartum examination laws requiring serologie tests have been enacted in eighteen states. The passage of these laws is an important step in the control of syphilis. However, the effectiveness of their application depends on the reliability of the serologie tests employed in making or ruling out a diagnosis of syphilis.

The physician who makes the examination is held responsible for the decision made in the case even though the basis for his diagnosis may rest largely on the results of serologie studies. This fact makes it necessary for him to know the accuracy of such serodiagnostic tests.

Serodiagnostic evaluation studies carried out during the last four years by the U. S. Public Health Service and state departments of health have shown conclusively that many laboratories have not met the minimum standard of efficiency of serologie test performance.

An assembly of laboratory directors and serologists which was attended by representatives from state, municipal and private laboratories was held in Hot Springs National Park, Ark., in October 1938. This meeting

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