What is the role of treponemal antibody tests in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Richard P Knudsen, MD, FAAN, FAAP; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Answer

The FTA-ABS and the MHA-TP are very reactive (ie, sensitive and specific) tests in secondary, latent, tertiary, and quaternary (ie, fulminant, necrotizing) syphilis. They confirm the diagnosis. After seroconversion, most patients' results remain positive indefinitely despite adequate therapy and regardless of disease stage. Infection with B burgdorferi (Lyme disease) may lead to a false-positive FTA-ABS result but does not cause a positive treponemal reagin reaction. [48]


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