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July 6, 1889


JAMA. 1889;XIII(1):23-26. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.02401030031003

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Bacteria in Green Sputa.  —The occurrence of green sputa is a well-known fact. Formerly all such cases were described by the same name, the green coloring substance was declared to be biliverdin, and in all cases where green sputum was observed, "bilious pneumonia" was diagnosed. At Traube's instigation Nothnagel investigated this symptom in the sixties. He arrived at the conclusion that green sputa might originate either from actual admixture of bile coloring substance into the sputa—and this occurs every time when an affection of the respiratory apparatus accompanied by spitting exists with icterus, irrespective of the cause for the latter, consequently not only in pneumonia but also in common bronchitis—or from transformation of a blood coloring matter into a green coloring substance. Nothnagel, who declares that the rust-color of the pneumonic sputa is an early stage of this transformation process, found the last stage, the green color, when the sputum

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