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To the Editor:
In their recent article, Kwittken and Goldberg (Arch Derm93:177, 1966) considered their patient's weakly reactive venereal disease research laboratory test for syphilis (VDRL) and complement fixation tests to be biologic false-positive (BFP) reactions. This patient also had a positive Reiter protein complement fixation test, but the authors comment only that false-positive reactions can occur with this test. This is certainly true, but the diagnosis of BFP reaction must not be made unless the treponema pallidum immobilization (TPI) test or an equally specific test is negative and there is no historical or physical evidence of the presence of syphilis. The authors' failure to perform a TPI test in the 83-year-old patient is understandable, but their reasoning in making the diagnosis of BFP reaction is not.
Sigal C. BIOLOGICAL FALSE-POSITIVE REACTIONS. Arch Dermatol. 1966;93(6):786. doi:10.1001/archderm.1966.01600240152033
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