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April 21, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(16):983-986. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24610160025001k

Soon after Lustgarten, of Vienna, published, in 1884 and 1885, his investigations in regard to the micro-organisms occurring in syphilitic foci, and expressed his conviction that these micro-organisms stand in a causal relation to syphilis, it was discovered by Alverez and Tavel, and Matterstock, and confirmed by Cornil, Klemperer, Doutrelepont and others, that in the smegma of the prepuce and vulva of healthy individuals a bacillus could be demonstrated which, neither morphologically nor in staining properties differs from the supposed bacillus of syphilis. The doubt which already existed in many minds concerning the specific nature of Lustgarten's bacillus was increased by this discovery, and it became a much-discussed question whether or not the organism found by Lustgarten in syphilitic lesions should receive any serious consideration whatsoever.

Occurrence.  —Although the smegma bacillus occurs with great constancy and in large numbers in the smegma of the prepuce of the male, in the