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February 5, 1910


JAMA. 1910;LIV(6):470. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.02550320048004

Tetanus is always looked on as the best example of a purely local infection with constitutional symptoms, in that the bacteria are supposed to remain strictly localized at the point of inoculation, while the diffusible toxin produced by them acts on the remote central nervous system. Undoubtedly, tetanus is as strictly localized as any other known infection, or more so, but there is increasing reason for believing that this localization is relative and not absolute. While cultures made from the blood and internal organs at autopsies on persons dying of tetanus have almost always failed to yield the tetanus bacillus, yet experimental work with laboratory animals has furnished evidence to several investigators that tetanus bacilli or spores may be readily found in the blood and viscera of animals that have received subcutaneous inoculations, sometimes persisting two or three months after inoculation. The usual failure to find them in the circulating

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