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November 3, 1945

PSEUDO-GAS GANGRENE OF THE HAND

Author Affiliations

District Health Officer, Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Assistant in Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Director, Division of Industrial Hygiene, Alabama Department of Public Health; Assistant Bacteriologist. Massachusetts Department of Public Health BOSTON

JAMA. 1945;129(10):659-662. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860440007002
Abstract

Aeriform infections of the hand of industrial origin, unrelated to the usual gas producing anaerobes, have not been previously described in this country. Recently 3 cases presenting such a syndrome were reported from two plants where an alloy containing 90 per cent magnesium was being utilized in manufacturing processes. Gas bacillus infection was the initial diagnosis in each instance and therapy with gas gangrene antitoxin had been instituted. Bacteriologic studies did not, however, reveal the presence of gas forming anaerobes. In all 3 cases the appearance of the infection followed an accidentally incised wound received shortly after handling magnesium. Fortunately radical surgical procedures were not performed.

Study of the possible hazards associated with the use of magnesium was stimulated by the recently increased demand for this metal throughout the aircraft manufacturing industry. These studies disclosed that an alloy containing at least 89 per cent magnesium, when introduced beneath the skin

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