In 1931 it was shown1 that bouillon filtrates of young cultures of the four recognized Gordon types of the meningococcus contain soluble or extracellular toxins specific to the individual types, as well as a toxin common to all types, and that animals injected with these toxins develop antitoxins specific to their homologous toxins and an antitoxin more or less common to all types (a clinical study of this antitoxin will be found elsewhere in this issue of The Journal2).
It was also shown that a certain proportion (about 50 per cent) of children are susceptible to one or more of these toxins, following intracutaneous injections of the diluted toxin, the test being carried out in a manner similar to the Schick and Dick tests for susceptibility to diphtheria and scarlet fever, respectively.
It was later demonstrated3 that this soluble toxin has a specific action on the central
FERRY NS, STEELE AH. ACTIVE IMMUNIZATION WITH MENINGOCOCCUS TOXIN. JAMA. 1935;104(12):983–984. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760120025006
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