A hundred years ago the existence of viruses was unknown. The beginning of knowledge of this group of infectious agents indeed goes back only a half century. It is not yet fifty years since Beijerinck 1 established that the infectious agent of tobacco mosaic disease is filtrable and called it a "contagious living fluid" and since Loeffler and Frosch 2 identified the first ascertained virus disease of animals, foot-and-mouth disease. In the decade or so which followed a small number of other plant and animal diseases were identified as of virus origin. Among these were yellow fever, rabies, vaccinia-variola and poliomyelitis. But while the boundaries of knowledge regarding virus diseases widened gradually from this beginning, it was not until shortly after the first World War that the advances became rapid. This new period was ushered in by the discovery that bacteria, the outstanding partners of viruses in causing infections, are
SCHULTZ EW. THE PRESENT STATUS OF VIRUSES AND VIRUS DISEASES. JAMA. 1948;136(17):1075–1079. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890340001001
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