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April 1976

Stripping Technique as an Aid in Dark-Field Diagnosis of Syphilis

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(4):558. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630280076033

To the Editor.—  Dark-field microscopical demonstration of Treponema pallidum remains the basis for unequivocal diagnosis of early lesions of syphilis.1,2 At times, nonsyphilitic eruptions may coexist with early syphilis and may present differential diagnostic problems in the presence of reactive serologic tests for syphilis (STS). In such circumstances, the diagnosis may require detection of the organism in the lesions.The current techniques for obtaining material for dark-field microscopical examination are at times cumbersome and time-consuming, particularly in the case of lesions of secondary syphilis with intact epidermis that are not located in intertriginous areas. We will present an improved method for obtaining material from such lesions for dark-field microscopy by either regular or immunofluorescence viewing.3-6The stratum corneum covering the lesion to be examined is removed by repeated applications of cellophane adhesive tape to induce a superficial, glistening erosion without the oozing of red blood cells. Approximately

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