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November 11, 1922


JAMA. 1922;79(20):1691-1692. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640200041017

The World War gave renewed prominence to tetanus as a menace to man. It served as a reminder of the peculiar behavior of Bacillus tetani, giving emphasis to the anaerobic character of this micro-organism. The almost universal distribution of the bacilli in nature has long been known, their occurrence in garden soils and street dirt being attributed to the presence of animal excrement. That feces become distributing agents for the tetanus bacillus is explained by the fact that the bacillus exists in the intestine of many normal animals, especially of the herbivora. According to Noble,1 experimental evidence discloses that this micro-organism may multiply in the intestine of such animals. In fact, the intestine, or rather the intestinal content of certain individual animals, seems to offer especially favorable conditions for the growth of the tetanus bacillus; such animals are "tetanus carriers," comparable, in regard to the distribution of the organism,