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Article
August 5, 1905

THE SMEGMA BACILLUS AS A DISTURBING FACTOR IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF GENITOURINARY TUBERCULOSIS.

JAMA. 1905;XLV(6):405-406. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02510060041008

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Abstract

The use of bacteriology by the clinician while of great value is fraught with danger to the uninitiated. In no case is this more true than in tuberculosis, for, when the tubercle bacillus was first discovered it was unique in its tinctorial reactions, and, though other "acid fast" organisms have been discovered since, the knowledge of them has not as yet become widely diffused among the profession. Some of these bacteria occur in diseases which, like leprosy, are rare among us, and so are of no practical importance to the clinical pathologist. A few, like the organisms occasionally found in the sputum in pulmonary gangrene, may be misleading, though very rarely so. One acid-fast organism, the smegma bacillus, may lead to the gravest mistakes in the diagnosis of genitourinary tuberculosis. This organism was first discovered as a result of the investigations which followed the announcement by Lustgarten of his discovery

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