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September 10, 1892


JAMA. 1892;XIX(11):322-323. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420110026005

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The infrequency with which certain diseases are observed in the human subject is occasionally a consideration worthy of discussion. At first it would appear as though there must necessarily be some peculiarity in the individual or upon the part of the etiological factor not present in other cases. Those diseases which are clearly of bacterial origin are of greatest interest in this particular direction. A biological study of bacteria, including their manner of propagation, their range of conditions for development, and their parasitic propensities may possibly give a key to the situation. Such facultative parasites as the tetanus bacillus or that of malignant œdema may never produce disease until accidentally transferred to some host where they are capable of growing and producing characteristic changes. These examples of accidental infection are often of so rare occurrence that an instance is not seen among thousands of cases of disease. Their rarity and

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