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December 2, 1893


JAMA. 1893;XXI(23):859. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420750029005

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Microbiologic chemistry is opening to view a series of agents which are capable of influencing the system with greater intensity than any of our mineral or alkaloidal poisons. They are the toxins produced by the vital processes of pathogenic bacteria. As alcohol, a product of the growth of the yeast plant, produces when taken into the system a temporary abnormal condition, intoxication, so these agents, products of bacillary growth, exercise on the system temporarily as powerful an impression as disease itself. But as the disease producing effects of the toxins can be controlled by regulating the dose, it is not unlikely that among them some may hereafter be found to be of value in antagonizing dangerous poisons or in conferring immunity to certain diseases by exhausting the susceptibility of the individual to the morbific agencies. Indeed, successful experiments in the latter direction have already been recorded.

The tetanus poison is

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