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Article
July 20, 1895

THE EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF DIPHTHERIA AND THE PHYSICIAN'S DUTY WHEN CONFRONTED WITH CASES OF DOUBTFUL CHARACTER, PRESENTING SYMPTOMS OF DIPHTHERIA.

JAMA. 1895;XXV(3):118-119. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430290036004
Abstract

The existence of the Klebs-Löffler bacilli in the secretions or exudations, upon an acutely inflamed pharyngeal mucous membrane, or upon the tonsils, as demonstrated by microscopic examination of cultures, is relied upon at the present day as the prime indication that diphtheria, or, to be more specific, diphtheritic angina is the correct diagnosis in the case. Similarly, when the colonies of bacilli are located beneath the epiglottis, we recognize the presence of a diphtheritic laryngitis, which may or may not be preceded, attended, or followed by angina, but is still truly diphtheria. So firmly is the bacteriologic diagnostic test relied upon, that communities and boards of health all over the world are establishing expensive laboratories mainly for the purpose of making these culture-tests, the finding of the Klebs-Löffler bacillus in doubtful cases being held to be conclusive evidence of the presence of diphtheria. Since the diagnosis of diphtheria often involves

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