In spite of the very great amount of attention which has been paid to the methods of detection of tubercle bacilli in the sputum, but little real progress was made prior to the introduction, by Uhlenhuth, of antiformin into the technic. The old and uncertain plan of endeavoring to pick out the caseous-looking particles, a procedure which involves much judgment, was only too often productive of nothing but disappointment. If no caseous particles could be found, as is so often the case with thin, mucoid sputa, recourse must needs be had to taking several portions at random and making from these the smear to be examined.
Prior to Uhlenhuth's communication1 several methods existed for "enriching" the sputum, either by digestion or by sedimentation in various ways, but all of them were either inefficient or so cumbersome as to be totally unavailable for the daily needs of even the skilled worker,
WILLIAMSON CS. THE VALUE OF THE LOEFFLER METHOD OF SPUTUM EXAMINATION. JAMA. 1912;LVIII(14):1005–1007. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260040021009
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