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February 26, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVI(9):658-659. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580350046026

"The mere fact that both animals and man are in constant contact with infectious micro-organisms, many of them in a high state of virulence, indicates in itself that the individual disposes normally over a defensive mechanism of considerable efficiency." These words, from a recent volume,4 express a situation which has long been the subject of speculation and experiment. Of course, the sound, healthy skin and the mucous membranes ordinarily offer an effective resistance to the entrance of micro-organisms into the interior of the organism. But even when organisms have succeeded in invading the tissues themselves, a second line of defense is ordinarily encountered which tends to inhibit the further progress of the germs more or less perfectly. Here the active forces reside in the phagocytic power of leukocytes and other cells and further in the bactericidal or antibacterial action of the body fluids. The latter process is commonly conceived

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