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Definition of «FTA-ABS test»

FTA-ABS test: FTA-ABS stands for 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.

FTA-ABS 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.

The FTA-ABS test is often used as a confirmatory test after first screening a patient with a VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) or RPR (rapid plasma reagin) test, since the FTA-ABS test is more expensive and time-consuming than "non-treponemal" syphilis tests such as the VDRL and RPR.

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