Through the Wassermann reaction, the discovery of the Spirochœta pallida, the Levaditi impregnation method of staining, and the introduction of the dark-stage illumination, the whole question relative to the pathogenesis of inherited syphilis has received new light.
As McIntosh and Fildes remark, on anatomic grounds it is improbable that the father could directly infect the fetus in utero. The strongest evidence in favor of the view that the ova can be infected was the finding of spirochetes in the ova of congenital syphilitic infants, by Levaditi, Sauvage, McIntosh, Hoffman and Wolters.
In forming a true valuation of this observation, one must remember that the spirochetes are found in almost every tissue, in children dead from syphilis, on account of these organisms being very numerous.
Neisser finds the testicle a harbor for the spirochetes in animals, but all his inoculations with human semen were negative. On the other hand, Finger and
ENGMAN MF. THE PATHOGENESIS OF PLACENTAL SYPHILIS: A PRELIMINARY REPORT. JAMA. 1912;LVIII(19):1415–1417. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260050091002
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