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April 30, 1898


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1898;XXX(18):1020-1022. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440700012001c

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Tetanus is a toxic infection dependent on the products of a specific germ. It is spoken of as traumatic when the infection takes place through a recognized wound. In idiopathic tetanus the infection atrium is some unnoted lesion. It is possible that the germs may sometimes find entrance through mucous membranes. Infection after labor gives rise to puerperal tetanus. Trismus neonatorum occurs as a rule through inoculation of the umbilicus. Tetanus cephalicus sometimes results from wounds of the head, the symptoms being limited to this region.

The bacillus of tetanus was first described by Nicolaier, in 1884. He obtained it from wounds and from the soil. Five years later Kitasato secured it in pure culture. The germ itself is not tenacious of life. It is strictly anaerobic, oxygen preventing its growth. Under favorable conditions spores form in one end of the rod-like germs, giving them a characteristic drumstick shape. The

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