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March 1, 1919


Author Affiliations

Captain M. C., U. S. Army FORT SILL, OKLA.

JAMA. 1919;72(9):636-639. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610090020005

Recently the eye has received little or no attention as a factor in the transmission of acute respiratory infections.. It has been disregarded in planning measures for the prevention of the spread of contagious diseases. This was especially true in the recent epidemic of influenza. No provision has been made in the ward routine of contagious hospitals for the protection of the eye of healthy persons in attendance on the unmasked sick. A brief consideration of the anatomic relations and physiologic facts of the lacrimatory-nasal mechanism, together with certain simple experiments illustrating its modus operandi, will convince one of the reality and importance of this portal of entry for pathogenic micro-organisms.

It has long been known that large numbers of various organisms, including the pneumococcus, streptococcus, influenza bacillus, and many others, may be recovered from the conjunctival sac, especially if there is obstruction to the overflow of tears. The conjunctival