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March 1, 1919


JAMA. 1919;72(9):645-650. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610090029008

Early after the mobilization of troops, epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis appeared. It was my opportunity to be stationed at one of the cantonments in an endemic area and later to be at the port of embarkation from which most of our troops were sent overseas.

The English had developed means for detecting carriers, but in this country the monograph of Flexner was used largely as the guide. The steps are:

  1. Selection of those from whom cultures are to be taken.

  2. Taking of cultures with the West tube.

  3. Inoculation of veal glucose serum agar.

  4. Selection of colonies.

  5. Identification of organisms by:

    • Morphology in stained specimens.

    • Agglutination tests (polyvalent serum and normal horse serum).

    • If found to be meningococci, agglutination tests with the various monovalent type serums.

This system we tried to follow, and from it developed our methods. Oct. 16, 1917, we had our first case of meningitis. The laboratory was not

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