The spinal fluid of persons infected with syphilis so often shows a positive Wassermann reaction and other abnormalities due to the disease, even when the Wassermann reaction of the blood is negative, that most neurosyphilologists have taught that every syphilitic patient should have at least one lumbar puncture for examination of the spinal fluid. Examinations of the spinal fluid in primary and secondary syphilis have been considered helpful: (1) in detecting syphilis, (2) in forecasting tertiary neurosyphilis and (3) in determining the absence or persistence of infection when the Wassermann test of the blood has become negative as the result of treatment. This paper is chiefly concerned with the third purpose.
For detection of syphilis in the primary and secondary stages, the information to be gained from an examination of the spinal fluid is almost never necessary, because more accurate evidences of the disease are far easier to obtain.
WILLIAM A. HINTON. HINTON TEST AND LUMBAR PUNCTURE IN TREATED PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SYPHILIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1934;30(6):813–820. doi:10.1001/archderm.1934.01460180055008