It seems to have been fairly well established that poor or insufficient food, per se, does not cause pellagra. The epidemiologic observations of Goldberger1 in 1914 furnish rather conclusive evidence that the disease is not bacterial in origin or transmissible by insect bites. To quote from Goldberger: "The investigations of the Public Health Service now permit one to answer the oft-repeated question: 'Is pellagra catching?' in the negative. No germ that can properly be considered the cause of the disease has ever been found. Attempts to give persons pellagra by inoculations of the blood, saliva, or other body discharges from several cases of pellagra have failed completely. . . . Furthermore, in an asylum where many of the inmates developed pellagra year after year, it was observed that the nurses and helpers who lived with them never developed the disease."
The work of White2 and of Stannus3 in which both
HEAD GD. A CASE OF PELLAGRA—ITS BEARING ON THE ETIOLOGY AND CURE OF THE DISEASE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1924;34(1):93-96. doi:10.1001/archinte.1924.00120010098007