Benjamin Franklin1 is given the credit of being the first to point out that colds and coughs are catching, that is, transferable from the sick to the well. At present the infectious nature of the catarrhal conditions, commonly known as colds, is accepted generally, and the bacteria commonly present — pneumococci, streptococci, influenza bacilli, Micrococcus catarrhalis, etc. — have been assumed to be the infectious agents. The reason for this assumption seems to be solely the fact of the presence of these organisms in various combinations and proportions in the catarrhal secretions of the affected parts. Anxious to grasp any chance to exploit their wares, manufacturers have recommended vaccines for both preventive and curative purposes, and offer to this end stock vaccines of an all-inclusive polyvalence.
That the underlying cause of many cases of "colds" is not as assumed heretofore is indicated strongly by certain recent investigations of much
THE ETIOLOGY OF RHINITIS. JAMA. 1915;LXV(2):172-173. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580020038018