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Article
May 4, 1907

WHAT IS FEVER?

JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(18):1531. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520440063009
Abstract

Various definitions of the febrile process have been given, but none is entirely satisfactory by reason of the incompleteness of our knowledge concerning the underlying mechanisms. Fever has been attributed to excessive oxidation, but convincing demonstration is lacking that increased amounts of oxygen are constantly taken up by the body and increased amounts of carbon dioxid are constantly given off, or that an increased amount of heat is generated or a deficient amount dissipated. That fever and pyrexia are not one is generally recognized, although the latter usually, though not always, accompanies the former. Dr. Woods Hutchinson1 indulges in an interesting disquisition on this subject, expressing the view that the phenomena of fever appear to be due to a general disorganization and perversion of normal metabolism by toxins, with conversion of the energy ordinarily expended in secretion, growth, motion, etc., into the waste product, heat. He holds that metabolism

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