CHARLES E. CHERUBIN, M.D.; STEPHEN J. MILLIAN, PH.D.
In a study of the serologic reactivity of sera from narcotic addicts who were not hospitalized and not in prison, nearly a quarter were found to react to unheated serum reagin test or Veneral Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) testing. Confirmatory tests were positive in only 12% of the men and 15% of the women. There was no observed effect of age or sex on the 6 to 13% of the sera that gave biologic false-positive reactions.
Nearly 20% of the sera gave low titer reactions on lymphogranuloma venereum complement fixation (CF), and 6 to 16% reacted on Q Fever CF testing. Biologic false-positive reactions are probably related to the hyperglobulinemia frequently noted in addicts in New York City.
These findings suggest that sera of narcotic addicts may give nonspecific positive reactions on an even larger number of serologic tests. Caution is urged in the interpretation of results of serologic tests on the sera of narcotic addicts.
CHERUBIN CE, MILLIAN SJ. Serologic Investigations in Narcotic Addicts: I. Syphilis, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Herpes Simplex, and Q Fever. Ann Intern Med. 1968;69:739–742. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-69-4-739
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1968;69(4):739-742.
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