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June 4, 1892

THE BATTLE WITH GERMS.Read at the meeting of the Ohio State Medical Society, May 4, 1892.

Author Affiliations

OF CINCINNATI.

JAMA. 1892;XVIII(23):696-698. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411270004001a

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Abstract

Knowledge of the cause of infectious diseases is considered one of the achievements of the present day. Chemistry and the microscope, wielded by indefatigable energy, have brought to light some of the little things that confound the mighty. These microscopic travelers have been traced in their wanderings through the labyrinths of the human body and their manner of warfare studied.

It has been shown that when these microorganisms enter the body those that are not cast out of the system, are attacked by the white blood corpuscles and other wandering cells called phagocytes. These cells take the parasites into their interior, where they are killed and disintegrated. The destruction of the bacteria in the cells is a chemical process. In fatal cases the bacteria poison the cells that engulf them; or when the infection is overwhelming, there is no battle at all, it is simply a surrender at sight.

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