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December 5, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(23):1920-1925. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410230006001b

Pyrexia is one of the most complex of all symptoms of disease and one of the symptoms most constantly present in pathogenic disturbances of metabolism. It is rarely absent in acute infections or in severe trauma, and more frequently characterizes the nature of the disease and the severity of the trauma than any other symptom, except the rashes peculiar to certain contagious diseases.

Despite the many difficulties and indeterminable problems met in the study of the various causes of fever and the complexity of its maintenance, a large number of investigators have assiduously pursued series of researches, with the result that, as yet, science is without an altogether satisfactory solution of the subject. In the light of our present view of the fundamental causes of fever, so far as they are known, a brief retrospect of the past half century would seem both permissible and interesting from the standpoint of