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January 24, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXII(4):290-292. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560290040015

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The general medical dispensary offers one of the avenues of attack on the important problem of the control of syphilis, which to-day lags sadly behind our knowledge of the pathology and treatment of the disease. It is important to recognize, first, the frequent occurrence of this disease in the medical dispensary. Out of a thousand consecutive new cases in the medical outpatient department of the Pennsylvania Hospital, thirty-four were diagnosed as luetic, of which thirty gave positive Wassermann reactions. The last-named figure is 3 per cent, of all the dispensary cases, probably considerably below half the actual proportion of patients attending the dispensary who have contracted syphilis. Even in those patients in whom the symptoms could not be attributed with absolute certainty to syphilis, the presence of the Wassermann reaction indicated the employment of specific treatment. The second point to be emphasized is that a large proportion of the patients

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