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One of the earlier theories of disease was that it came from without, as a direct visitation from God; later, that it originated in the humors of the blood; in modern times the cell doctrine has had its sway, to be supplanted as the microscope increased in power by the bacterial origin of disease, rapidly supplemented by the hypothesis that the products of the bacteria, the ptomains and leucomains, are in many cases the active media, while the more recent investigations of serum therapy seem to foreshadow a partial return to the humoralistic theories. It was only in 1851 that Meigs declared that puerperal fever was a fatality of God's providence; so that whatever the actual truth of our modern speculations may be, there is no pathologic process upon which they have had a greater effect in modifying our methods of treatment, in teaching us how to avoid their transmission,
HOLMES EW. THE TRAUMATIC FEVERS. JAMA. 1897;XXIX(15):730–732. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440410018002g
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