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October 1961

Pseudosyphilis Papulosa

Author Affiliations


Division of Dermatology, University of Utrecht, L. H. Jansen, M.D., Director.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(4):639-641. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580160103019

The risk of a dermatosis being unjustly considered syphilitic is small nowadays, and this is partly due to the more sensitive and specific syphilitic tests now available.

When Lipschütz first described the dermatosis which he called "pseudosyphilis papulosa" the risk was greater; furthermore, syphilis was undoubtedly seen much more frequently in those days than at the present time.

In 1921 he described 4 female patients, 15-30 years old, with small, round, flat, red to gray papules, near the vulva and anus, resembling the papular and condylomatous lesions seen in secondary syphilis. The serologic tests, however, were and remained negative; there was no lymphadenopathy, and, moreover, the Treponema pallidum could not be found.

Lipschütz thought the lesions were the result of a local reaction to uncleanliness and bodily neglect, and this he stressed in all 4 of his patients.

Since this first paper 48 patients have been described in the available