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March 19, 1910


Author Affiliations

Director, Assistant Director and Bacteriologists, respectively, of the Bacteriological Laboratory of the Boston Board of Health BOSTON

JAMA. 1910;LIV(12):951-954. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.92550380001001j

With the discovery of the bacillus of diphtheria by Klebs and Loeffler in 1883-4 came the hope that by the means of careful laboratory tests and strict quarantine regulations this disease might soon be banished from the civilized world. This hope has, as yet, however, to no great extent been realized. True, the disease has to a marked degree been freed from its terrors through the use of antitoxin, the discovery of which was first announced by Behring and Kitasato in 1890, but its incidence as a whole has not decreased; it still waxes and wanes outside of our control, still fills our hospital wards with little sufferers, and still presents one of the most serious of public health problems.

The reason for this condition of affairs is found in the study of two conditions; the first of which deals with the patient as to his relative immunity to the disease, and