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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 25, 2004


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(8):1010. doi:10.1001/jama.291.8.1010-b

Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson's theory that the eating of badly preserved fish is the chief, or, indeed, almost the sole cause of leprosy, recently has been revived in a number of daily newspapers. For this reason it may be well to refer to some work that has been done in this connection. Professor Hansen of Norway, the discoverer of the bacillus of leprosy, tried for several years to find the lepra bacillus in tainted or fresh fish. He also tried to determine the possibility of such material being a source of leprosy in any way. His investigations were apparently without success. Except Dr. Hutchinson himself, there is no authority on leprosy, so far as we know, who advocates the theory. Dr. Isadore Dyer of New Orleans, who is our American expert on leprosy, having ample opportunity for the study of the disease among lepers of Louisiana, has investigated the possibility of Dr. Hutchinson's theory being true, and continues to pronounce against it as he did during the lepra conference at Berlin in 1897. . . .

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