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January 1974

Koch's Postulates and Slow Infections of the Nervous System

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md; Bethesda, Md

Arch Neurol. 1974;30(1):36-38. doi:10.1001/archneur.1974.00490310038006

Haven't you guys ever heard of Koch's postulates?

Anonymous Voice From AN Audience, 1973

The medical literature of the past ten years has presented a bewildering array of data linking viral infections to chronic human neurological disease. There have been reports of the recovery of a variety of viruses from the brains of patients, the transmission of some diseases to primates, the demonstration of γ globulin or viral antigens in neural and nonneural tissues, electron microscopic observation of virus-like particles in brain, and epidemiologic data suggesting probable viral causes for diseases. Certainly, these reports raise the question of what criteria exist for establishing a virus as the cause of a disease. In response to this question, Koch's postulates need review both within the context of his times and within the limitations of contemporary virology; possibly then some acceptable criteria tentatively can be proposed for relating viruses to chronic disease.

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