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May 22, 1909


JAMA. 1909;LII(21):1668-1669. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02540470034004

With the development of two new diagnostic criteria of syphilis, the Wassermann reaction and the finding of spirochetes, it has been possible to approach the socalled parasyphilitic diseases from a new ground, with the result of brilliantly confirming the conclusions previously reached by clinical observation. As the parasyphilitic affections are late manifestations or results of syphilitic infection, and for the most part not accompanied by definite syphilitic lesions, the search for spirochetes has not been of much help in their etiologic determination, since these organisms are usually found with difficulty in even the most typical lesions of the tertiary stage. With the help of the Wassermann reaction, however, it has been demonstrated that the relationship between syphilis and such diseases as tabes and general paralysis is fully as frequent as the clinicians have long believed, and if anything more so. The variations in the results obtained by the laboratory investigators