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November 19, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLIII(21):1552-1553. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02500210042005

We are so thoroughly imbued with the idea that all infectious diseases are caused and carried on by living germs that we are hardly in a fit mood to receive kindly and weigh carefully any other theory of infection. In view, however, of the fact that modern microbiologic methods have not yet unraveled the etiologic problems of many easily communicable and highly infectious diseases, such as the acute eruptive fevers, syphilis, typhus fever, yellow fever, rabies and foot-and-mouth disease, we may do well to seriously consider the question whether a too strict adherence to the microbic theory of infectious diseases is closing our eyes to other methods of research. Have we really the right to irrevocably conclude that living, multiplying microbes are absolutely essential for the development and spread of diseases like those just mentioned?

Benjamin Moore, professor of biochemistry in the University of Liverpool, points out in a suggestive

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