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July 17, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(3):174. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680030038011

In certain mountain slopes, notably on the western side of the Andes in Peru, there occurs a long known disease that has been described as more destructive than smallpox and almost as disastrous as plague. The malady is commonly designated as Oroya fever because of the location of a severe outbreak many years ago among the workmen building the Central Railway between Lima and Oroya, when it was estimated that at least 7,000 persons died. This specific communicable disease is characterized clinically by a rapidly progressing severe anemia, associated with febrile reactions. In the red blood cells of patients suffering from Oroya fever, Barton 1 found, in 1905, peculiar bacilliform elements, the specificity of which has been confirmed by Barton's subsequent observations and those of later investigators. Strong, Tyzzer, Sellards, Brues and Gastiaburu 2 concluded that these bodies are of protozoan nature and proposed for them the name of Bartonella