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December 29, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(18):1262-1263. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860520030009

Since the work of Parrot, Küss, Ghon, Ranke and many others there has remained little doubt that the origin of tuberculous disease in infants and young children is almost exclusively the first contact with tubercle bacilli. Furthermore, Koch, Romer, Krause and many others found that it was difficult to superinfect an active infection in experimental animals. By analogy an exogenous reinfection in children before 3 years of age probably does not occur often if at all, because the lesions do not have time to heal within that time.

At one time most adult tuberculosis was thought to arise from these early infections. Late in the last century Behring made the often quoted statement that fatal tuberculosis was the "last verse of the song begun in the cradle." Not all were in agreement with Behring's hypothesis, however, because Nägeli, Orth and others had been reporting the presence of healed calcified tuberculous