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December 1980

Diagnosis of Secondary Syphilis

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(12):1346-1347. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640360020006

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To the Editor.—  In a letter to the editor in the March Archives (116:272,1980), Dr Jonelis wrote that he had developed a technique for diagnosing secondary syphilis quickly and accurately. He had not seen this method reported in the literature.Shortly after the discovery of Treponema pallidum as the causative agent of syphilis, Erich Hoffmann described directions for finding this organism by rubbing, scraping, or squeezing the syphilitic lesion with a forceps or loop and thus obtaining the tissue serum in which T pallidum could be found in more or less ample quantity. The only difference between the well-known examination methods of Hoffmann and those of Jonelis is that Hoffmann did not recommend anesthetizing the skin site.I would like to emphasize that in examining a dry or scaly syphilitic lesion for T pallidum, it is necessary to first scrape the lesion with a loop. The subsequent use of a

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