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August 21, 1943


JAMA. 1943;122(17):1186-1187. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840340034012

A full understanding of the disease or diseases called infectious or epidemic jaundice or hepatitis has not been reached, as the confusion of the nomenclature bears witness. Whether "catarrhal jaundice" in the old sense of jaundice ascribed by Virchow in 1864 and others before him1 to closure of the common duct in the course of a duodenal "catarrh" occurs as a distinct disease is still questionable. Does the term possibly cover two morbid conditions, one due to biliary obstruction and the other to hepatic changes without obstruction? The present general view is indicated by the increasing use, particularly by European writers, of the term "infective or epidemic hepatitis." The nature of the hepatitis and of other changes has not been exhaustively studied, the mechanism of the jaundice has not yet been explained, and the cause or causes are not known; significant progress is being made, however, in the study