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December 4, 1886


JAMA. 1886;VII(23):622-624. doi:10.1001/jama.1886.04250120006003

So commonly accepted is the theory that periodic fevers, neuralgias, dysentery, etc., are caused by a specific poison, that one may feel lonesome in combating it. But truth is not evolved by following the beaten path when it leads away from the truth. As neither the etiology, pathology, therapeutics or hygiene of periodical disease point to the specific factor known as malaria, whether it be a gaseous exhalation, a septic poison, a microscopic germ or a myth, we see no reason for adherence to the dogma.

Correct etiology must always precede scientific and successful hygiene. Without it all results are empir ical. And when we resort to a causation of which, as Dr. Bemiss1 says, "it must be admitted the substantive essentiality remains as yet undemonstrated," and Dr. Bartlett,2 " neither the strongest lenses of the microscope nor the most careful analyses of chemistry have succeeded in discovering the