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April 1965

Do Treponemes Survive Adequate Treatment of Late Syphilis?

Author Affiliations


From the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory, Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Chief, Medical Research, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (Dr. Yobs); Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Emory University School of Medicine (Dr. Olansky); Surgeon, USPHS(R), Medical Research, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (Dr. Rockwell); Microbiologist, Medical Research, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (J. W. Clark, Jr.).

Arch Dermatol. 1965;91(4):379-389. doi:10.1001/archderm.1965.01600100095026

Nodes from 45 men who had been treated for syphilis in varying stages of the disease were studied. Five of these nodes were shown to contain treponeme-like forms, which in two cases proved to be virulent. Repeat node study after supervised treatment was completely negative in all five men. Possible reinfection and inadequacy of previous treatment undoubtedly are important factors in the original findings. Penicillin is the drug of choice in the treatment of syphilis. There is no evidence that Treponema pallidum survives in humans after adequate penicillin treatment.

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