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October 11, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(15):1266-1267. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820410044014

In 1886 Weil described an acute febrile hepatorenal syndrome characterized by a sudden onset with rigor, fever, muscular pain, prostration, jaundice, hemorrhagic tendency and renal failure. In 1916 Inada and Ido reported the discovery of the causative agent, a spirochete. Noguchi classified this organism as Leptospira icterohemorrhagiae. The common vector of this spirochete is the wild rat. These animals carry the organism in the tubules of the kidney and excrete them in the urine, thus infesting water, soil or food with which they come in contact. Most of the cases reported had been in persons exposed to direct contact with the excretions of rats and in cutters and cleaners of fish, sewer workers, miners who work in wet mines, and ditch and tunnel diggers. The disease was found to be not at all rare in England, France and Germany and was particularly frequent in Japan, Denmark, Austria, Egypt and some