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Article
May 1977

Serologic Tests in Late Syphilis-Reply

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Arch Otolaryngol. 1977;103(5):310. doi:10.1001/archotol.1977.00780220104020

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Abstract

In Reply.—Dr Smith's findings of spirochetes in the aqueous humor of patients treated for syphilis was not mentioned in my article for two reasons. First, the main thrust of my article was that "all that fluoresces is not necessarily syphilis" when performing the FTA-ABS test. The indiscriminate use of the FTA-ABS test to screen a population with a low incidence of syphilis will increase the incidence of false-positive reactions and thereby decrease usefulness of this test. Second, my statement that "a definitive diagnosis of late syphilis cannot be made" because spirochetes are not present is still the contention of the Public Health Service and the Communicable Disease Center (CDC). Dr Douglas Kellogg of the CDC worked for three years not only on Dr Smith's original specimens but also on other types of body fluids, and never demonstrated spirochetes. Observation of spirochetes in body fluids of patients with late

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