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March 8, 1965

Bacterial Synergism— An Unexplored Realm of Research

JAMA. 1965;191(10):25-27. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080100101053

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Bacterial synergism is a far more frequent event than has been supposed, according to William F. Arndt, Jr., PhD, MD, of Washington, DC. "This view is substantiated by the number of bacteriological investigations in the clinic which yield mixed flora," Arndt said. The investigator is associate professor of preventive medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Based on these observations, Arndt suggested a reappraisal of Koch's postulates—the guidelines of investigative bacteriology. This classical technique emphasizes isolation of the "pure culture"—that single bacterial entity responsible for disease. "The time has come to revise our view of infection and multiply the world of possible etiology geometrically by considering that the pathogenic capacity of multiple infection may well be far greater than that of the single agent," Arndt pointed out. He suggested that this represents a virtually untapped area for research.

Mixed Infections  The investigator discussed the mechanism of mixed infections and supported his thesis with both in vivo and in vitro

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