Definition of Test, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed

Test, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed: A blood serum screening test for syphilis designed to demonstrate the presence or absence of specific antibodies directed against the organism (Treponema pallidum) responsible for syphilis.

The fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed (FTA-ABS) test detects the majority but not all cases of the disease. It is thus a way of screening for the disease.

A negative FTA-ABS test result is consistent with a person not having syphilis. However, a person may have a negative FTA-ABS test result while in the early (primary) and late (tertiary) stages of the disease. In the middle (secondary) stage of syphilis, the FTA-ABS test is most reliable and is reportedly positive in 100% of cases.

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Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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