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July 20, 1901


Author Affiliations

Professor of Laryngology and Rhinology in Northwestern University Medical School; Laryngologist to St. Luke's and Wesley Hospitals, Etc. CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(3):186-189. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.62470290032002j

Under the irritating action of any one of several species of infectious micro-organisms, there exudes upon the surface and into the substance of the pharyngeal mucosa a whitish-gray deposit known as a false membrane or exudate. The histologic changes consist of necrosis of the epithelium and alteration in the vessel walls with the exudation of a coagulable albuminoid substance derived from the blood serum and mixed with fibrin, desquamated epithelium and leucocytes. While the membranes differ somewhat in physical characters and composition in accordance with the intensity of the inflammation and the species of infecting germ, the distinctions are so slight as to be unreliable in diagnosis, except in connection with bacteriologic examination, supported by a close study of the symptom-complex. A familiar form of diffused exudate in the pharynx is that excited by the Klebs-Loeffler bacillus, which receives the distinctive title of true diphtheria. Most of the other diffused

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