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October 13, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(15):1198. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520150054006

Reference has been made several times recently in these columns to the genesis and the prevention of epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis. The exact mode of spreading of this disease was not understood satisfactorily until Goodwin and others demonstrated the frequency with which the meningococci occur in the nose and throat of healthy persons who come into contact with the sick. While the cocci die out quickly when deposited on clothing and other articles, they persist in the throat and nose as on a favorable culture medium. It appears that in persons who carry meningococci in this way no symptoms may be produced at all or, at most, only local catarrhal disturbances.

It is easy to understand how carriers of meningococci must be a source of great danger to individuals readily susceptible to meningeal infection and to whom the organisms may be transferred either by contact or by droplets of moisture expelled