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November 21, 1891


JAMA. 1891;XVII(21):819-820. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410990037005

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In determining the etiology of a disease, it is particularly important that all the causative factors should be considered. It is not sufficient to assign to one factor an overweening importance, and call it the cause. Let it be admitted that tuberculosis cannot exist without the bacillus tuberculosis, nevertheless, it is only one factor in the etiology of this disease. If this latter statement were not true, this omnipresent bacillus would soon play sad havoc with the human race. These statements are trite, but we submit that the truth which they embody is frequently overlooked, in this age of bacteriological activity. In the investigation of the etiology of a specific disease, it is much easier to determine with accuracy the particular microörganism which may be concerned in its production, than to determine the other factors involved. There is something brilliant about discovering and naming a bacillus; it is accurate and

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