Since a specific antitoxin for the treatment of diphtheria has become available and since its efficacy depends in large part on the promptness of its administration, it is imperative to diagnose the disease as quickly as possible. Although Löffler's medium was successfully devised for rapid culture of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, incubation for from eight to twelve hours is required before a diagnosis can be made. The addition of calcium tellurite to the culture medium by Conradi and Troch in 19121 was a step toward a more rapid laboratory aid to diagnosis. Since their original work, many mediums containing different salts of tellurium have been devised.2 The value of tellurite medium lies in the blackening of colonies of Corynebacterium early in growth, thus facilitating their isolation and detection.
In 1938 Manzullo of Buenos Aires3 discovered that pieces of diphtheritic membrane which had adhered to the swab turned black when
BIERMAN HR, MAXWELL RW. THE PRESENT STATUS OF THE IMMEDIATE TELLURITE TEST FOR DIPHTHERIA. JAMA. 1941;117(15):1255–1256. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820410033009
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