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February 18, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(7):373-375. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450340041007

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The validity of the doctrine of pathogenic bacteria has been much criticised because of the seeming slowness with which pathogenic bacteria have been demarcated. This slowness is lightning-like compared with that with which the etiologic relations of other parasites have been demonstrated. The pathogenic nature even of such gross parasites as the Acarus scabiei took a century and three-quarters to establish. The itch insect was discovered by Moffat (Theatrum insectorum in 1663. As late as the time of Hahnemann its pathogenic relation to scabies, while gaining ground in popular medical belief, was still in dispute. About a century and a half after Moffat's discovery, Hahnemann, advancing his inventively stupid doctrine of psoric diathesis, denounced with unusual emphasis those who believed in the parasitic origin of scabies. As late as the thirties of the present century, an animated controversy still was waged in the ranks of scientific medicine over the parasitic

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