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August 27, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(9):695-696. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690090045017

It has been more than twenty years since Bordet and Gengou made the pioneer announcement of the cultivation of Bacillus pertussis from patients with whooping cough. This ought to be a sufficient period for the establishment of confidence in the etiologic significance of the micro-organism in question. In several diseases, notably diphtheria, the identification of the causative agent serves important purposes not only in diagnosis but also in following the progress of the malady and particularly its infectivity. Modern medicine has fortunately discovered that dependence on classic clinical symptoms may sometimes leave the observer in the lurch unless he is prepared to supplement the more conventional procedures with the refinements of present-day technic. The "carrier" is a potential menace despite his freedom from readily observable symptoms of disease; consequently the bacteriologist contributes the possibility of hygienic safety when he discovers infectious germs lurking anywhere in the bodies of apparently healthy