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The appearance of beri-beri (beri is Singhalese for weakness) among the soldiers now engaged in bloody conflict in the far east calls our attention to a hitherto little noticed and, therefore, so to speak, new terror of war over which medical science as yet has little or no power. Beri-beri (or kakke, as it is called in Japan) is the pest par excellence of the Malay archipelago and peninsula, but given certain special conditions, it may occur apparently almost anywhere, as witness its occurrence among Newfoundland fishermen and in British prisons. It is widely disseminated in many tropical countries, including the Philippine Islands.
From the clinical and anatomic points of view, beri-beri may be described briefly as a peripheral neuritis, with changes in the central nervous system. Naturally, the disease may manifest itself in varying degrees of intensity; its manifestations will also vary greatly in the different periods of its
BERI-BERI.. JAMA. 1904;XLIII(16):1148. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02500160050005