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March 25, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(12):962-963. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500390046006

As early as 1758, Francis Home of Edinburgh attempted the inoculation of measles. His method consisted in saturating cotton with the blood taken from the skin of a patient suffering from the disease and applying it to an abrasion in the individual to be inoculated. He reported 15 cases of inoculation, but an analysis of these cases in the light of our present knowledge makes it seem certain that he was not successful in reproducing the disease in any instance.

Since Home's work, many physicians have tried to produce measles experimentally, and among them Wachsel, Speranza, Katona, McGirr and Bufalini asserted that they were successful. Some used blood, others tears, and others nasal mucus as a source of the virus. A critical study of their methods and results show them to be of but little value, for, in the first place, the possibility of natural infection was scarcely ever excluded,