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January 26, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(4):260. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470040038002

Bronchitis is a common affection, both as an independent disease and as a secondary and complicating process. That bronchitis generally is an infective disease is probably not to be doubted, but considerable vagueness certainly exists as to the special organism or organisms that sustain the most important relationship to the disease. The first question to be determined in studying the bacteriology of bronchitis is whether the lower air-passages—trachea, bronchi and pulmonary alveoli—normally contain pathogenic bacteria. The majority of observers hold that the lower air-passages are normally sterile. The bacteria present in the air are probably all withdrawn as the inspired air passes through the nose and the pharynx. That bacteria are removed from the air during respiration is shown by the fact that expired air is generally sterile; and it is thought that the bactericidal power of the nasal mucosa is an important factor in cleansing the air. Direct bacteriological