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October 1920


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1920;2(4):493-498. doi:10.1001/archderm.1920.02350100081010

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Reports of reinfection in syphilis have been appearing with increasing frequency during the past year or two. The presentation of such a case before a meeting of dermatologists is certain to precipitate a lively and somewhat acrimonious discussion, which, after ranging far afield, usually ends in an impassé. In the confusion of debated issues, however, a sharp cleavage of opinion becomes clearly discernible: one group, which may be called the conservative, holds fast to orthodox views, while the other, less imbued with respect for authority, appears hospitably inclined toward new conceptions. It may be interesting, and perhaps helpful in clarifying our ideas, to analyze in detail the arguments and the method of reasoning employed by the disputants.

As a rule, the validity of reinfection is vigorously contested by skeptics of the old school, strong in the conviction that syphilis, having once invaded the human body, becomes a permanent possession, and

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