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February 26, 1982

Recognition of Syphilis

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1125. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330021010

To the Editor.—  The article on "Physician Recognition of the Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Syphilis" by Thomas A. Chapel, MD (1981;246:250), and the editorial of Yehudi M. Felman, MD, in the same issue (1981; 246:252), served to remind us of previously published comments by Greenberg and Madorsky (1972;220:1736). Using their venereal disease quiz, Lewis Drusin, MD, and I tested two separate classes of medical students in their clinical years. At that time Cornell Medical College devoted more curriculum hours to venereal disease teaching than most medical schools. Using 60% correct as a passing grade, 45.4% of fourth-year students failed. Three years later a separate class of students at the end of their third year had a 51.7% failure rate. This was the vanguard for the 47.2% of Chapel's physicians who failed to include lues in their differential diagnosis.We hoped that our colleagues would acquire sufficient acumen during their