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June 1939

STAPHYLOCOCCIC SEPTICEMIAA REVIEW OF THIRTY-FIVE CASES, WITH SIX RECOVERIES, TWENTY-NINE DEATHS AND SIXTEEN AUTOPSIES

Author Affiliations

Associate Attending Physician, Mount Sinai Hospital PHILADELPHIA

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1939;63(6):1068-1083. doi:10.1001/archinte.1939.00180230053004
Abstract

Contrary to common opinion, the staphylococcus is the deadliest organism of general sepsis. This bacterium, universal in distribution and of extremely low virulence, is generally considered to be a secondary invader, leading a saprophytic existence on the skin and mucous membranes of the body and producing small pimples, furuncules and abscesses. It is not fully appreciated that at the same time it is also capable of producing the most dangerous of all septicemias. From the most insignificant site of infection, even a microscopic abrasion of the skin, the staphylococcus may invade and infect the blood stream, with a resulting fatal outcome due to the formation of septic embolic foci or abscesses in all the organs of the body, and with the occurrence particularly of septic bronchopneumonia, metastatic abscesses and degeneration of the kidneys, liver and heart.

The incidence of staphylococcic septicemia is also greater than is commonly thought. About two

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