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February 4, 1983

Scarlatina After Operations

JAMA. 1983;249(5):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330290019011

To the Editor.—  The discussion by Bartlett et al of toxic shock syndrome associated with surgical wound infection in The Journal (1982;247:1448) is an illustration that even in medicine, "There is no new thing under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The advances in medicine change with the times, but the description of disease is constant and varies only with the skill of the observer. I would like to bring to the attention of the authors a description of a report entitled "Scarlatina After Operations," which was delivered by James Paget at St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1863.Mr Paget described ten cases of scarlatina following surgery. His colleagues surmised that these cases were only casual coincidences of scarlatina with surgical diseases, since scarlet fever was prevalent in London at this time. Paget noted that if this were so, he should find a proportionate number of cases among surgical patients not operated on,