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February 18, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(7):375-376. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450340043008

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A few years ago, when the subject of intestinal antisepsis was more prominently before the medical profession, on account of the supposed value of antiseptic remedies in the treatment of such diseases as typhoid fever, it was earnestly hoped that we might obtain an index of the amount of intestinal putrefaction going on by the estimation of certain excretory products thrown off in the urine. When we come to consider the value this index would be to us and the rapidity with which it might be obtained, the importance of the subject becomes at once apparent.

By the more delicate method of counting the number of colonies of bacteria in a given quantity of the feces, an index to putrefaction in many cases might be obtained. However, since the number of colonies in the given quantity of feces may be so variable, depending, as it does, upon such contingencies as

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