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We occasionally observe individuals whose state of health, physically and mentally, seems so thoroughly perfect that they can and do pass through epidemics of virulently infectious disease unscathed. We observe a far larger number who prove themselves, for the time being at least, impregnable to exposure or even inoculation with germs of certain contagious diseases, and who yet fall easy prey to other diseases on slight exposure. The latter class are protected only as to certain germs, either by the fact of having previously experienced an attack of the given malady, or by some inherent quality in their own organization. In this consideration, the possible protection afforded by some extraneous circumstance, such as approximately perfect sanitary surroundings or the influence of chemic disinfectants, is supposed to be excluded. This difference in susceptibility to infection, shown by different races of people, by different individual subjects under what is apparently the same
FINLEY GW. THOUGHTS ON VITAL RESISTANCE TO DISEASE—IMMUNITY, NATURAL AND ACQUIRED. JAMA. 1896;XXVI(5):211–213. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430570013001d
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