Previous to the work of Flexner in this country and that of Kolle and Wassermann and Jochmann on the continent, little had been accomplished in the production of a serum curative for epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis. The experiments of Bonhoff and of Lipíerre, while suggestive of results, were too incomplete and unsatisfactory to warrant conclusions that they were working with a serum of protective and curative value. They were unable to reproduce the disease experimentally in animals in a form simulating that disease in human beings, and there is some doubt as to whether their control animals, for the most part guinea-pigs, died from toxemia or from infection.
As a result of the epidemic of cerebrospinal meningitis which devastated greater New York during the winter of 1904 and spring of 1905, in which there were about four thousand cases with 3,429 deaths, Dr. Flexner, as a member of a
LADD LW. SERUM TREATMENT OF EPIDEMIC CEREBROSPINAL MENINGITIS.. JAMA. 1908;LI(16):1315-1318. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410160025001h