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March 20, 1948


JAMA. 1948;136(12):814-819. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890290004002

From the literature on leptospiral infections in the United States, Weil's disease (spirochetal jaundice) and canicola fever.1 it would appear that these diseases have been recognized as a problem in preventive as well as curative medicine, as prophesied editorially in The Journal of the American Medical Association ten years ago.2 The research, devoted to this subject since Weil made his clinical observations in 18863 has resulted in much valuable information. The spirochetè Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae was established as the causative organism of Weil's disease in 19154 Laboratory methods for its diagnosis were introduced in 1922.5 The clinical manifestations, pathology, animal reservoirs, epidemiology and geographic distribution have been extensively discussed in the literature.6 A comparable, but less complete, elaboration of detail is also available for canicola fever.7

Despite this wealth of data, however, leptospiral infections still challenge the public health officer, the clinician, the bacteriologist, the laboratorian,