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June 2, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(22):1423. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460220053015

In view of the uncertainty of our knowledge about the exact etiology of tetanus, especially of the so-called rheumatic and idiopathic forms in which the points of entrance are obscure, to say the least, the conclusions of Thalmann,1 obtained from an extensive experimental and literary research, may be of interest. Thalmann was not able to produce tetanus in guinea-pigs by introducing tetanus bacilli into the stomach, intestines, or urinary organs, no matter whether diseased or healthy. The conditions in the oral cavity do not seem to differ from those of the skin as regards infection with tetanus. Wounds of the nose present favorable conditions for infection both directly as well as through inspiration. When healthy the respiratory passages are impervious both to toxin and to bacilli, but if catarrhal states exist infection may take place. The introduction of spores into external wounds produces chronic, fatal disease without tetanic manifestations.