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October 28, 1950


Author Affiliations

Oteen, N. C.

From the Tuberculosis and Laboratory Services, Veterans Administration Hospital.

JAMA. 1950;144(9):754-757. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.62920090001008

Polyarteritis as a disease entity was first described by Kussmaul and Maier in 1866 under the name of periarteritis nodosa.1 Until 1937 about 20 cases had been diagnosed clinically.2 Since 1937 the number of cases recognized during life has increased greatly due to increased awareness of and interest in the disease. It is difficult to state whether or not there has been an actual increase in the incidence of the disease. Since cases are being attributed to sensitization to a variety of therapeutic agents, such as sulfonamide drugs, heavy metals, iodides and phenylhydantoin sodium, the growing number and increased use of these agents may be responsible in part for any greater incidence. Periarteritis nodosa has also been attributed to sensitization by plant poisons.3 Conceivably, any substance known to produce allergic manifestations is a potential etiologic factor. When one takes into consideration the millions of persons who have

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