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August 31, 1895


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1895;XXV(9):368-370. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430350024002h

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There can be no reasonable doubt that the larger part of the ill-effects of diphtheria, are due to the soluble poisons (toxins) formed by, or during the growth of the germs of the disease. The paralysis, the albuminuria, the necrosis in the various organs can all be produced at will with these poisons. Here is a diphtheria toxin. This was made by inoculating a flask of alkalin beef tea with a virulent culture of the diphtheria germ. This germ was obtained in December last from a child in Harper Hospital, Detroit. After the flask had been in the incubator, at the body temperature, for several weeks, the germs were killed by the addition of carbolic acid. The beef tea, or as we now call it, toxin, was filtered, first through paper, and then through porcelain. The latter removes all the germs. On testing this, we find that one-tenth c.c., or

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