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November 1, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(18):1365-1366. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610440045019

Since Bang's discovery of a characteristic microorganism associated with so-called "contagious abortion" in cattle, it has become customary to attribute the disease to Bacillus abortus described by him. The assumption that this is the sole or even the predominant etiologic agent concerned with a malady that occasions enormous economic losses has diverted attention away from the microbial cause and toward prevention or cure. Aside from the indirect interest that bovine disease represents in relation to human welfare, and particularly when the milk supply is involved, the bacillus of contagious abortion in cattle has lately been discussed as a possible agent of more direct menace in childhood.

The newer studies at the Department of Animal Pathology of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, Princeton, N. J., under the leadership of Theobald Smith,1 bring unexpected evidence that contagious abortion may involve something more than Bang's bacillus. They include the discovery of

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