Screening for syphilis and neurosyphilis in acute psychiatric admissions

Roberts M.C. ; Emsley R.A. ; Jordaan G.P. (1992)

Article

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

Article

The value of blood screening for syphilis and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) screening for neurosyphilis in acute psychiatric admissions is assessed. Of 1296 patients, 248 (19%) had evidence of previous or current syphilis as shown by a positive Treponema pallidum haemagglutination test, and 68 (5,2%) had potentially treatable syphilis as shown by a positive Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) titre. CSF examination was performed on 169 patients with a positive blood test. Seventeen (i.e. 1,3% of all patients included in the study) met our criteria for neurosyphilis. The best predictor for neurosyphilis was the presence of a reactive serum VDRL. However, it is recommended that all patients with a positive blood test and symptoms that could possibly be ascribed to neurosyphilis undergo CSF examination.

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