Hemolytic streptococci produce disease by virtue of two attributes; namely, the ability of the bacteria to invade the body tissues and the capacity to form toxins. These are separate qualities requiring separate antibodies for their effective neutralization within the body. The immunologic evidence to support this conception is now sufficiently complete to warrant the therapeutic use of specific antitoxin and specific antibacterial antibody.
Bacterial invasiveness connotes the ability of an organism to invade the body and there cause local or disseminated abscesses, cellulitis or bacteremia. The capacity to invade is a primary attribute of virulence, because bacteria must be able to live and multiply in order to produce harmful toxins in the body.
The only definitely known method whereby the body can destroy gram-positive bacteria is the process of phagocytosis and intracellular digestion. Ward and Lyons1 have recently presented a series of studies on the virulence of and the
LYONS C. IMMUNOTRANSFUSION AND ANTITOXIN THERAPY IN HEMOLYTIC STREPTOCOCCUS INFECTIONS. JAMA. 1935;105(24):1972–1975. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760500024005
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