Forgot Password?
Join Now
Learn more

Blog Detail

Discussion-> Edward Powers's Personal Blog

Darkfields - “Ready to Go”

Edward Powers on November 20, 2018 at 06:11:12 PM
Dear Doctor Reitmeiner:

As one who performed darkfields, I agree with your description of the spirochete and the awesome sense of the clinician and the patient looking at that pale, seemingly fragile, twisting, deadly spirochete.

I hope other Public Health Advisors who worked for CDC write to you after they see your article. When I was assigned to New Jersey from 1968 to 1972, I was trained at CDC laboratories to do darkfields. The NJ Department of Health had a 24 hour Darkfield service - our response time anywhere in the State was guaranteed to be less than an hour. Most calls were private physician offices, but hospital clinics and ER’s also called. All our supplies were in our Darkfield box.

There are many stories those who responded to those calls have - your supervisor calling you at 3am for a hospital call, then calling you again at 3:15 am to make sure you didn’t go back to sleep; the lad who went into the hospital ER at 4am because of a severe chest cold who said to the doctor “While I’m here, how about taking a look at this sore on my dick?”, and the private doc who insisted that the Advisor wear his headlamp, and take a specimen from the cervix of this patient, helpfully pressing the Advisor’s head closer and closer to the lesion.

Darkfields should be back in style. Non-physician personnel can be trained to do them (in the US, some stretching of CLIA might be necessary).

Public Health still needs to get beyond the “stay behind the counter” mentality and go where the problems are. Providing on-site darkfields should be just one more strategy.

Ed Powers
Former Public Health Advisor 1964-1998
San Antonio, TX

Add a comment


© 2021 Internet and STD Center of Excellence
about | terms | privacy | contact | site credits | FAQ