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April 4, 1925


JAMA. 1925;84(14):1047-1048. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660400035017

Since 1911, when Schroeder and Cotton1 found that the organism causing contagious abortion in cattle commonly is present in the milk of infected cows, the question as to what effect this germ may have on human beings has come up repeatedly, for it is capable of infecting various kinds of mammals. The first flurry of interest subsided without definite data regarding human infection, but the question of human susceptibility to Bacillus abortus arose again with renewed emphasis in 1918, when Evans 2 found that it is so closely related to Micrococcus melitensis, the cause of Malta fever in man and goats, that strains of these organisms cannot be differentiated by morphology, biochemical reactions or simple agglutination. Inoculation of pregnant guinea-pigs with strains of Bacillus abortus from bovine sources and of Micrococcus melitensis from human sources resulted in abortion within a few days. These observations were confirmed by Meyer 3