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June 21, 1947


Author Affiliations


From the Section of Preventive Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1947;134(8):653-655. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880250001001

The modern concept of the virus etiology of infectious hepatitis is a product of the investigations of recent war years both abroad and in this country. This theory is in accord with at least three facts: (1) the consistent failure to identify any causative bacteria with this disease;1 (2) the production of hepatitis in human volunteers by the administration of a filtrable agent,2 and (3) the development in patients in the early stages of this disease of leukopenia (with lymphopenia and subsequent neutropenia) similar to that found in several other virus infections.3

Historically, infectious hepatitis is an old disease and one which has been long known in civilian and military life. Epidemics of what may probably be regarded as this disease were recorded during Napoleon's campaign in Africa and in the Civil War in this country, the Boer War in South Africa and in World Wars I

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