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June 13, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(7):612-613. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690070046013

The widespread use of blood and blood products during World War II led to the recognition of serum hepatitis as a complication of parenteral injections. In the years that followed, considerable controversy arose as to whether this condition was a disease distinct from infectious (epidemic) hepatitis. In a recent article Stokes1 has summarized succinctly the evidence favoring the viewpoint that infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A) and serum hepatitis (hepatitis B) are different entities despite their essentially identical clinical manifestations. In his discussion Dr. Stokes draws widely on his own observations of both natural infections and experimentally induced infections in human volunteers.

First, experiments with volunteers and observations under natural conditions have yielded convincing evidence of a lack of cross immunity between the two viruses, thus indicating antigenic differences. Again, Red Cross gamma globulin has been shown repeatedly to give a high degree of protection against infectious hepatitis. On the other

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