The diagnostic value of the Wassermann reaction, now well recognized, has, as a direct corollary, the importance of the test as a guide to treatment.
In much of the earlier work it was found that the frequency of negative reactions, especially in the latent stage, bore a direct relation to the amount and efficiency of previous treatment. Later statistics have confirmed the early observations, and to-day it is recognized that the value of a negative reaction, from a diagnostic standpoint, is much affected by recent specific medication.
The view one takes of a positive reaction in the latent stage has much to do with his opinion in regard to the reaction as a guide to treatment. Two possibilities exist: A positive reaction may indicate (1) that the patient once had syphilis and his serum still shows evidence of the old infection, and (2) that spirochetes are present