It has long been held that acute articular rheumatism is an infectious disease, but no positive proof has been furnished. The basis for this belief includes the following clinical observations: 1, Rheumatic fever occurs in epidemics; 2, there is a great constancy in the seasonal variations; 3, there is a striking similarity of the symptoms of rheumatic fever to those of septic infections. Bacteriologic investigations of this disease have not been wanting, but the results are somewhat confusing. As early as 10 and 12 years ago several investigators reported the finding of staphylococci, streptococci and diplococci in the excrescences in the heart valves and in other organs of patients who succumbed to this disease. Among the earlier investigators we find four who have isolated staphylococci, five who isolated streptococci and six who found diplococci.
In 1897 Achalme found an anac̈robic bacillus in the heart's blood and in other organs of
THE ETIOLOGY OF ACUTE ARTICULAR RHEUMATISM.. JAMA. 1903;XLI(20):1210-1211. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490390034004