The Value of the Quantitative Complement-Fixation Test for Syphilis in Leprosy

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  • Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Profilaxia da Lepra, e Faculdade de Medicina, São Paulo, Brasil

It has been reported by various workers from different countries that the frequency of positive reactions in serologic tests for evidence of syphilis remains high when the sera of leprous patients are examined despite the use of cardiolipin antigen. This has been true for the various flocculation tests and the Kolmer complement-fixation technic (Table 1). Results of this kind seem to be accepted as unavoidable despite the experience of Maltaner who, in 1940, examined the sera of 47 cases of leprosy by the quantitative complement-fixation technic and found that 7 of the 8 sera which reacted were from individuals with histories of “venereal exposure or promiscuity”. The quantitative technic yielded equally discriminative information on the 60 sera from leprosy patients that were examined in the Washington Serologic Conference in 1942 (Parran et al., 1942). Thus there has been suggestive evidence for a dozen years that the quantitative complement-fixation method has much to offer in the recognition of syphilitic infection among leprous individuals.

Author Notes

Present address: Division of Laboratories and Research, New York State Department of Health, Albany, N. Y.