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February 3, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(5):300-301. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460050046008

Since Widal, in 1896, made "Pfeiffer's phenomenon" available for clinical use, a mass of observations has accumulated from which it ought to be possible to draw rather definite conclusions as to its diagnostic value. At the present time opinion seems to be divided on this point; some regard a positive reaction of decisive importance, others hold that the test is unreliable both in the positive as well as in the negative sense.

With Fischer1, we hold that an investigator who proclaims his faith in Widal's method must show that his cases of supposed typhoid fever were actually typhoid: and yet the number of instances is decidedly small in which actual scientific proof, namely, the unquestioned demonstration of the bacillus of typhoid fever either during life or after death, has been furnished. Furthermore, the test must be made with the proper dilutions of the serum, and what is regarded as