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November 8, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(19):1460. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610450056030

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To the Editor:  —Apropos of Dr. Schamberg's article in The Journal, October 18, on the desensitization of persons against ivy poisoning: In the winter of 1907-1908 I was practicing at a sanatorium located in the foothills in Napa County, Calif., where nearly all the underbrush is poison oak. Naturally there were many cases of poisoning, some so severe as to menace life. One of the male nurses, who had formerly been very susceptible to the poison, had developed a high degree of immunity so that he could even grub out the roots of the plant with impunity. When pressed for the secret he related how he had begun by eating very small portions of the crushed berries and had gradually increased the dose until he could eat half a dozen berries at a time. He kept himself immune by occasionally eating some of the berries. With this as a basis

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