Hemagglutination tests for syphilis antibody

Am J Clin Pathol. 1978 Aug;70(2):230-3. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/70.2.230.


In a study of serodiagnosis of syphilis, the authors compared the specificities and sensitivities of two hemagglutination tests, a sheep-erythrocyte test (MHA-TP) and a trukey-erythrocyte test (TPHA), with those of the Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody-Absorption (FTA-ABS) test. In tests of sera from 935 patients without syphilis, the MHA-TP, TPHA, and FTA-ABS tests were reactive for 0.96, 0, and 1.3% respectively. The false-positive results were usually transient and not associated with underlying illness. For the 68 patients with syphilis, the MHA-TP test was as sensitive as the FTA-ABS test in all stages except untreated primary disease. The TPHA test appeared to be undersensitive, and testing of follow-up sera from persons with latent syphilis showed unexplained conversion of false-negative TPHA results to reactive results. Reproducibilities of the two hemagglutination tests were comparable. The MHA-TP test is a valuable confirmatory test for syphilis. Further study is needed before the use of the TPHA test can be recommended.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sheep / immunology
  • Syphilis / immunology
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis*
  • Treponema Immobilization Test
  • Turkeys / immunology


  • Antibodies