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August 1, 1896


Author Affiliations

Clinical Lecturer, Diseases of the Chest, Medical Department of the Western University of Pennsylvania; Assistant Physician to the West Pennsylvania Hospital, Member American Medical Association, etc. PITTSBURG, PA.

JAMA. 1896;XXVII(5):252-253. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430830022001h

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Under the light of recent investigations, the old theory of inherited tuberculosis is at best questionable. Congenital tuberculosis is comparatively infrequent. The so-called hereditary predisposition is now known to be general debility, which may arise from many causes. Any weakling has this predisposition, no difference what degree of health his parents enjoyed. All weak persons, especially the young, are liable to contract tuberculosis, if the three essential factors of infection are present, viz., debility, abrasions and bacilli.

The three essential factors of infection.  —In the convalescence of typhoid fever, for example, we have two out of the three essential factors of infection. The same factors are present in the convalescence of measles and whooping cough, viz., debility and abrasions of the mucous membranes. The third essential factor of infection is easily supplied by the millions of tubercle bacilli which can be found in almost every public building, hospital ward, railway

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