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August 26, 1893


JAMA. 1893;XXI(9):317. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420610029008

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With the progress of bacteriological knowledge, come the various practical suggestions that make such knowledge useful to mankind in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, and rendering them less virulent. It is now well known that the phthisical sputa is the principal means of propagation of tubercle, outside of the body. Clinical observation long ago demonstrated that persons in close personal contact with phthisics for a protracted period of time were extremely liable to contract the disease, and now that we know the cause, we should quickly employ effective means of destruction of the fatal bacilli.

Remouchamps (Revue des Sciences Medicales, July, 1893), has employed carbonate of sodium in boiling water as a cheap and practical means of destroying the tuberculous contents of spittoons and particularly of handkerchiefs. He demonstrated its efficiency by an experiment as follows:

On some squares of linen he spread the expectoration from phthisical patients and

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