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May 19, 1945


JAMA. 1945;128(3):175-180. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860200015005

In the search for antibiotic substances which are more bacteriostatic or bactericidal for gram negative bacilli than penicillin, Waksman and his associates isolated two apparently related substances, streptothricin1 and streptomycin,2 from the genus Streptomyces, which includes the soil actinomycetes. Of the two, streptomycin, obtained from a strain of Actinomyces griseus, is somewhat more active against certain pathogenic gram negative bacilli, including Eberthella typhosa, and is less toxic for the host.3 It is also effective in controlling experimental infection in animals with a mixture of Proteus vulgaris and anaerobic streptococcus,4 and with Pasteurella tularensis, Myocobacterium tuberculosis and Klebsiella pneumoniae.4a An opportunity to test the therapeutic effect of' streptomycin on typhoid and to study its pharmacology in patients came during a local epidemic which began in December 1944. About 60 cases with eight deaths were reported, all arising from a carrier in a bakery. Because of the