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May 1938

DIAGNOSIS OF SYPHILIS IN NEW-BORN INFANTS: USE OF QUANTITATIVE WASSERMANN TESTS

Author Affiliations

BALTIMORE
From the Pediatric and Obstetric Departments of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and the Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor, Washington, D. C.

Am J Dis Child. 1938;55(5):979-989. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1938.01980110085006
Abstract

In order that treatment of congenital syphilis may be begun at the earliest possible moment, an accurate method of diagnosis in the first few months of life—the so-called period of doubt—is of great importance. Faber and Black1 have done much to clarify the significance of a positive Wassermann reaction of the blood in this period. According to these authors, the use of a quantitative rather than a qualitative technic for testing the blood of infants of syphilitic mothers offers a means of early differentiation between infants who have been infected with syphilis and those who have not. This idea was set forth by Faber and Black as follows:

Our hypothesis in using the quantitative method was that with an initially positive reaction to a routine Wassermann test in an infant at or near the time of birth successive quantitative tests might reveal a progressive decline in titer to zero

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