Diagnostic Highlights

General Comments: Diagnostic tests for syphilis include nontreponemal serology tests. T. pallidum cannot be cultured; diagnostic tests are based on the detection of specific and nonspecific antibodies that are produced.

Test

Normal Result

Abnormality with Condition

Explanation

Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL)

Negative or nonreactive Positive

Detects Treponema antibodies; becomes positive 2 wk after inoculation (highlight box continues on page 874)

874 Syphilis

Diagnostic Highlights (continued)

Test

Normal Result

Abnormality with Condition

Explanation

Rapid plasma reagin

Negative or nonreactive

Positive

A sensitive test that detects a

(RPR)

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