Screening tests—absorbed fluorescent treponemal (FTA-ABS), the Reiter protein complement-fixation (RPCFT), VDRL slide test, automated reagin—and cardiolipin Wassermann reaction—were carried out on 1922 consecutive new patients attending the Whitechapel Clinic over a three-month period.
Taking the FTA-ABS test results as an index, the most efficient combination of conventional tests was found to be the RPCFT and automated reagin test. The cardiolipin WR proved to be under-sensitive and of little value compared with the other tests.
Forty-two per cent of the 107 sera reactive in the FTA-ABS test were not detected by the RPCFT or ART tests. An assessment based on the TPI test results and clinical findings in these patients is presented.
The scope and limitations of the FTA-ABS test as a screening procedure are discussed.