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January 2, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(1):35-36. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440010053005

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The fact that the Klebs-Löffler bacillus is closely simulated by a non-virulent organism is well known, and it has been rather largely held that the latter is a variety or modified form of the former that for some reason has lost its special pathogenic qualities. Some observers have maintained that there are several kinds of diphtheria bacillus, while others have considered them all as practically the same, but differing in form and pathogenic power under different conditions. So far there has been no practical test of the virulent and the non-pathogenic forms but that by inoculation, a tedious and impracticable method under most circumstances in actual practice. Guinea pigs are not always available, and the test is most often made by the effects on the patient himself, with the result that for safety the physician concludes all cases, mild or otherwise, to be virulent, and if he is a conscientious

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