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May 10, 1941


JAMA. 1941;116(19):2169. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820190045012

The Shiga bacillus can function as a harmless saprophyte in the intestine of normal monkeys, according to Day1 and his co-workers of the University of Arkansas, but it assumes lethal pathogenicity if the animals are placed on a "vitamin M" deficiency diet.

Avitaminotic dysentery was first described by Verder and Petran,2 who found that the withdrawal of vitamin A from the diet of monkeys is almost invariably followed by the development of gastrointestinal disturbances. They noted further that the serum of avitaminotic diarrheal monkeys usually agglutinated the dysentery bacillus, though the organism itself could not be detected in the stools till after death. They concluded that, while the dysentery bacillus was directly responsible for the diarrhea, the essential etiologic factor was the vitamin A deficiency.

Langston and his colleagues3 afterward found that monkeys given a diet fractionally deficient in parts of the vitamin B complex usually develop