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March 1959

Syphilis: Review of the Recent Literature

Author Affiliations

Philadelphia With the Collaboration of T. Guthe, M.D., and C. J. Hackett, M.D., Geneva, Switzerland

From the University of Pennsylvania, Departments of Dermatology, School of Medicine (Dr. Donald M. Pillsbury, Professor), and The Graduate School of Medicine (Dr. Herman Beerman, Chairman). Dr. Guthe and Dr. Hackett are with the World Health Organization.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(3):460-483. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270030116012

Many of the problems covered by the literature on syphilis during this review period (July 1, 1957-July 1, 1958) have been summarized by Fiumara 1 in a paper with the provocative title, "Sic Semper Syphilis." He notes that the tremendous improvements made since 1938 in the control of this disease have been due to the organization and operation of venereal disease control programs and to the effect of penicillin in decreasing the period of infectiousness. Problems involved are the sexual promiscuity of the population, failure of private physicians to report cases, inherent limitations of control methods, mobility of the population, and overoptimism in assuming that the disease has been beaten. Syphilis cannot be totally eradicated, but the incidence rate can be reduced by effective cooperation of an organized health program and alert private physicians. Both are required. Attention is called to the increase in allergic reactions to penicillin—also, to the

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