More than fifteen years ago Eichhorst, of Zurich, in the third edition of his "Handbuch der Speciellen Pathologie und Therapie," transferred rheumatism from the class of constitutional to that of infectious diseases. In doing so he was only expressing a conviction that had been forming among clinicians generally. Because of certain superficial resemblances to gout, rheumatism had been classed among diathetic diseases, but without good reason, as time and closer clinical observation showed. Eichhorst's position was not unique, but it is only after fifteen years that the medical profession is coming to acknowledge its correctness. We have at length come to the point of conceding the infectious nature of rheumatism. The reasons given by Eichhorst before any germs had been described as occurring in the lesions of the disease are to-day the best arguments for its infectiousness. Rheumatism has all of the characteristics of an acute infectious fever—the incubation period,
WALSH JJ. RHEUMATISM AND THE PREVENTION OF HEART COMPLICATIONS. JAMA. 1900;XXXV(24):1535–1538. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24620500021001d
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