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November 6, 1943


JAMA. 1943;123(10):636-637. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840450038012

Until recently there has not been essential modification of the original concept of catarrhal jaundice advanced by Bamberger in 1855 and supported by Virchow in 1865. Now, however, numerous clinically similar cases have appeared in epidemic proportions in troops and in civilian groups in almost all countries. Study of these events has resulted in a reconsideration of the basic interpretations. Formerly the initial lesion in this disease was considered a gastroduodenitis followed by spread of "catarrh" to the epithelium of the bile ducts which thereby produced obstructive jaundice. The occurrence of a biphasic van den Bergh reaction stimulated doubts of this simple explanation and suggested that damage of the liver must be present either alone or in combination with biliary obstruction. This altered theory has given rise to a changed nomenclature in which the term epidemic hepatitis or infective hepatitis (the former probably being preferable) has tended to replace the