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July 1962

Laennec and the "Prosector's Wart": Historical Note on Classic Descriptions of Inoculation Tuberculosis of the Skin

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 1962;86(1):74-76. doi:10.1001/archderm.1962.01590070080014

Many classic dermatologic descriptions of varying degrees of importance have been relegated to oblivion or remain in limbo. It is fitting that attention be directed to "lost and found" dermatologic descriptions, be they the occasional serendipitous findings of the moment or the result of planned dermatohistorical research of wider scope.

Inoculation-tuberculosis of the skin occurring in physicians, medical students and morgue attendants who have been engaged in performing postmortem examinations or in those who have handled tuberculous animal matter has been of occasional interest to dermatologists. It has been called by a variety of names—tuberculous cutaneous primary complex, anatomic tubercle, prosector's wart, lupus verrucosus, tuberculosis verrucosa cutis, and verruca necrogenica—to mention but those terms most used in the English-speaking countries. Through the decades, with but a few exceptions, English and American dermatologic text-books1-5 have customarily cited the description by Samuel Wilks in 1862 as the earliest reference to this

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