When it was learned that the injection of small quantities of antidiphtheric serum would protect against diphtheria for a few weeks, physicians, urged by health officers, proceeded to protect in this way practically all persons known to have been exposed to infection. At first the prophylactic injections of serum were regarded as wholly harmless, but occasionally they were followed by disagreeable results. As it became apparent that many persons do not contract diphtheria even from what must be regarded as abundant exposure, many physicians abandoned prophylactic injections of serum, choosing rather to watch persons subjected to exposure in order to begin curative treatment at the earliest moment of actual infection. It seemed preferable to proceed in this way rather than to subject immune persons to the annoyance and possible complications of serum disease.
At this juncture the introduction by Schick of a simple, intracutaneous test for immunity to diphtheria appears
THE SCHICK TEST FOR IMMUNITY TO DIPHTHERIA. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(15):1246. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570410044023
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