The problem of deciding whether the infant of a syphilitic mother is also syphilitic and requires specific treatment is frequently difficult, particularly when the mother had been treated during her pregnancy and the baby shows no clinical manifestations of the disease but does have a positive serologic reaction in the blood from the cord or in the peripheral blood during the neonatal period. Fildes1 in 1915, after studying 1,015 infants in a clinic in East London with special attenion to the question of syphilis, concluded: "The Wassermann reaction obtained with blood from the placental end of the cord is not diagnostic of syphilis in the infant but of syphilis in the mother." He further stated: "The phenomenon does not depend on the use of blood from the umbilical cord but is also met with when the blood is obtained direct from the infant." Fildes' observation that initially positive Wassermann
FABER HK, BLACK WC. QUANTITATIVE WASSERMANN TESTS IN DIAGNOSIS OF CONGENITAL SYPHILIS: CLINICAL IMPORTANCE OF FILDES' LAW. Am J Dis Child. 1936;51(6):1257–1267. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1936.01970180003001
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: