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March 25, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVI(13):958-959. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580390028018

The one incontrovertible proof that a given bacterium is the cause of a specific human disease is furnished by the production of that disease in man through infection with pure cultures of the organisms. Not infrequently such evidence has been obtained by investigators through inoculation of themselves or of volunteers; occasionally some progressive murderer has conducted an accurate and convincing experiment, an account of which has subsequently been published not entirely with his approval or under his authorship; and accidental infections in laboratories have furnished conclusive proof far more often than is perhaps generally realized. Of all pathogenic bacteria, the one in worst repute in laboratories is the glanders bacillus, and probably it deserves this reputation. There are many instances, both reported and unreported, of laboratory infection with pure cultures of Bacillus mallei, and with these infections the mortality is extremely high. There is one striking instance of infection of