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December 17, 1932


JAMA. 1932;99(25):2126-2127. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740770056022

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Discovery of Cause of the Haff Disease  During the years 1924 to 1926 a peculiar disease, characterized by hemoglobinuria, muscular weakness and pains in the limbs, appeared among the population living on the banks of the Haff, an arm of the Baltic Sea, in East Prussia. In September, 1932, the disease reappeared in villages along the Haff, this time as well almost exclusively among the fishermen. In 1926 the Verein für wissenschaftliche Heilkunde of Königsberg reported the results of experiments carried out by members of the faculty of the University of Königsberg, which appeared to justify the conclusion that the disease was transmitted by eating eels that had ingested toxic material in mud derived from the waste waters of Königsberg cellulose factories. With the reappearance of the disease this year, members of the Königsberg medical faculty instituted a new investigation of this mysterious disorder, the results of which were reported,