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May 1962

A Comparative Study of Serologic Tests in Early Syphilis

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 1962;85(5):641-643. doi:10.1001/archderm.1962.01590050071013

The frequent occurrence of biological false positive reactions1-5 in those serological tests for syphilis employing nonspecific antigens has stimulated the development of newer and more specific tests for this disease. Among the latter employing treponemas or their products are the Kolmer-Reiter protein complement fixation (KRP),6,7 fluorescent test for treponemal antibodies (FTA),8,9 and the Treponema pallidum complement fixation test in 50% dilutions (tpcf-50).10,11

A recent research project on erythromycin in the treatment of early syphilis12 afforded an excellent opportunity to compare the relative merits of the VDRL with these tests. This investigation was conducted under the supervision of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Materials and Methods  Patients with darkfield-positive primary and secondary syphilis were selected from those attending the Northwest Central Clinic, Venereal Disease Control Program, District of Columbia Department of Public Health, if they were judged suitable subjects for a research project. Native intelligence, dependability,