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The disease has been demonstrated bacteriologically to appear in epidemic and sporadic form. In sporadic cases it is difficult and frequently impossible, if severe and rapidly fatal, to differentiate this form of meningitis from that secondary to other infectious diseases, except by lumbar puncture, and therefore it is as yet impossible to say how extensively the disease exists in sporadic form.
In 1880 Eberth supposed he had found in the micrococcus lanceolatus the essential cause of the disease, and since then until about 1895 it was generally accepted as the specific cause, the demonstration of a distinct micro-organism in 1887 by Weichselbaum, which he called the "diplococcus intracellularis meningitidis" notwithstanding. It seems that the organism found by Weichselbaum was supposed to be the lanceolatus (Flexner and Barker, Am. J. Med. Sciences, Vol. 107, p. 159), and it was not until Jaeger, Heubner and Finkelstein about nine years later took up
SHELLEY JF. CEREBRO-SPINAL MENINGITIS, WITH REPORT OF CASES. JAMA. 1898;XXX(26):1499–1502. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440780013002a
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