Detection of Biological False Positive Syphilis Serum Reactions

  • HD Brede
  • KDF Willey
  • RA Kindermann
  • MH Finlayson

Abstract

A comparative evaluation of reagin tests (Wassermann, VDRL, RPR) and fluorescent treponema antibody absorption tests (FTA-ABS) performed on blood specimens from 5 271 persons (2 493 pregnant women, 1 130 apparently healthy prospective employees, 1 345 newborn babies and 303 leprosy patients) showed that 17,2% of the pregnant women, 11,95% of the prospective employees, 19,0% of the newborn babies, and 27,2% of the leprosy patients gave positive reactions in one or more of the tests. The majority of specimens were from Cape Coloured patients. FTA-ABS tests allowed the exclusion as biological false positives of ±30% of the pregnant 'positive reactors', of ± 37% of the prospective employees, 40,2% of the newborn babies, but only 1% of the leprosy patients. The FTA-ABS test, therefore, deserves wide acceptance as the standard by which the diagnosis of syphilis is confirmed and false positive reactions are defined, although non-specificity in pregnancies, intracellular infections and auto-immune diseases occurs. The classical reagin tests are of value in the control of treatment.

S. Afr. Med. J., 48, 1191 (1974).

Author Biographies

HD Brede
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch and Tygerberg Hospital, Tiervlei, CP
KDF Willey
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch and Tygerberg Hospital, Tiervlei, CP
RA Kindermann
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch and Tygerberg Hospital, Tiervlei, CP
MH Finlayson
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch and Tygerberg Hospital, Tiervlei, CP
Published
2018-03-17
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135