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March 2, 1907


Author Affiliations

Captain, Assistant Surgeon. U. S. ARMY.

JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(9):781-785. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25220350039001h

It is not the purpose of this paper to give any new information on the etiology of beriberi. The subject has been extensively investigated by Pekelharing and Winkler, Manson, Wright and the Japanese school, and germs have been isolated, which, it is claimed, are the cause of the disease. These claims, however, have not been substantiated. Beriberi has been attributed to faulty diet, to various forms of intestinal parasites, to exposure to the elements, and, finally, in absence of definite knowledge, to malaria. The consensus of opinion is that beriberi is a place infection and probably of microbic origin; it is immaterial whether, as Manson states, the germ is located in the soil of infected spots and produces a toxin which gains entrance to the body and causes the symptoms characteristic of the disease, or whether the germ itself gains access to the body and there generates a toxin which

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