It has long been recognized that second infections in syphilis in man are not common; indeed, prior to the discovery of spirochetes and the introduction of arsphenamine, a comparatively small number of supposed instances had been reported, and there was considerable discussion as to their actual occurrence. Ricord and Fournier stated that they had never observed a satisfactory example, whereas in 1895 Hutchinson reported fifty-four "reinfections," only a few of which his son later was willing to accept.
When the diagnosis of syphilis rested on clinical grounds alone, the recognition of the occurrence of second infection with this disease was admittedly difficult and frequently open to question. Many of the instances reported prior to 1910 may have been and doubtless were true examples of second infection, but since the diagnosis rests entirely on clinical grounds, the evidence is hardly acceptable according to present standards. With the discovery of the causative
HALLEY CRL, WASSERMAN H. SECOND INFECTION IN SYPHILISITS RELATION TO THE TIME OF TREATMENT OF THE FIRST INFECTION. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1928;41(6):843–866. doi:10.1001/archinte.1928.00130180076005
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.