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This acute, infectious disease is quite prevalent in nearly all centers of population; according to its nature, attacking the children in some families and in some districts with fatal malignancy, and in others showing itself only in the mildest form of the disease. The general prevalence of diphtheria very naturally furnishes a most interesting theme for discussion at medical society meetings.
The Klebs-Loefler bacillus is believed to be the active agent in propagating the disease; also, that the first manifestation is local, and that the immediate absorption of the poisonous chemical products which are developed in the original nidus are productive of the well-known constitutional symptoms so frequently found in a sub-normal temperature, feeble circulation, nervous exhaustion and malaise.
It is in the characteristic exudative membrane formed in the throat, nostrils and trachea that the bacillus is found, while the accompanying œdema and swelling of the parts in this locality
DIPHTHERIA.. JAMA. 1891;XVII(21):820-821. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410990038006