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July 1970

Early Diagnosis of Neonatal Syphilis: Evaluation of a Gamma M-Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Test

Author Affiliations

Newark, NJ; New York; Newark, NJ; New York; Newark, NJ
From the Department of Pediatrics, New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry (Drs. Mamunes and Steward and Mr. Budell); and the Bureau of Venereal Disease of the New York City Department of Health (Dr. Cave and Mr. Andersen), New York.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;120(1):17-21. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100060051005

Total cord IgM measurements and an indirect γM-Fluorescent treponemal antibody (γM-FTA) test were performed on the cord sera of 43 seroreactive neonates to determine the reliability of each in diagnosing congenital syphilis. Thirty-three infants who did not have active disease had either a negative or minimally reactive (five cases) γM-FTA test. Four with definite and five with suspected active disease gave 3 to 4+ reactions. One infant who was suspected to have active disease was FTA negative. By titering the 3 to 4+ reactive sera, it was shown that this FTA test can detect considerably less than 1 mg/100 cc of antitreponemal IgM antibody. Total cord IgM levels were not reliably elevated in active cases. These results suggest that the γM-FTA test may prove to be an accurate additional way to diagnose congenital syphilis in the neonatal period even if the infant is asymptomatic.