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July 15, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLV(3):192-193. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.52510030049003

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DIPHTHERIA.  The Bacillus diphtheriæ, or Klebs-Loeffler bacillus, was discovered by Klebs in 1883, and more fully described by Loeffler in 1884. It answers all Koch's laws in its relationship to the disease of diphtheria. It is a non-motile, rod-shaped organism having about the length of the tubercle bacillus but twice its thickness. It stains by Gram's method, and with the ordinary anilin dyes, and with the special stain of Neisser shows a peculiar granulation, the granules of Babes-Ernst. It is readily cultivated, especially on solid media which contain serum and in various bouillons. It tends to grow in coherent masses and under the microscope the cells often show a characteristic phalanx-like arrangement. One end commonly presents a flask-like enlargement. It is an obligate parasite having no vegetative existence outside the body. It is very resistant to desiccation and may remain virulent in a dried state for from one to five

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