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September 2, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(10):781-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740350039013

Rivers, lakes and other contaminated surface waters almost invariably contain one or more transmissible lysins for the colon bacillus and often contain readily detectable amounts of lysins for numerous other bacterial species. Several bacteriologists have suggested that such widely distributed "bacteriophages" must play a significant part in natural water purification. If so, similar specific sterilizations should be of value in the prevention of water-borne infectious diseases. The vibriocidal properties of certain Indian rivers, for example, and the bactericidal property of at least one European stream have been assumed to be specific bacteriophage phenomena. The addition of laboratorygrown cholera bacteriophage to municipal water supplies has been tried in India, and the subsequent decrease in cholera epidemics has been cited as proof of prophylactic effects. A dozen enthusiasts have suggested that bacteriophages should be added to swimming pools and used in the routine disposal of sewage. Bacteriophage has even been suggested as