Normally, the blood has a remarkable capacity for rapidly clearing itself of micro-organisms. At least, this has been abundantly proved experimentally with the lower animals when large numbers have been introduced directly into the blood, and it doubtless holds true for human beings as well. Furthermore, organisms, particularly streptococci of low virulence, may be intermittently present in the blood, as detected by cultures, when there is no clinical evidence of infection and especially in persons with chronic foci of infection about the teeth and tonsils. This constitutes bacteremia and probably occurs more frequently than is ordinarily surmised. However, when the blood is invaded by organisms of high virulence and the clearing mechanism is inadequate or fails, with possibly some actual proliferation and the production of toxins, this tissue may be regarded as being infected, which constitutes septicemia.
The same may occur with organisms of low virulence in persons of lowered
KOLMER JA. ETIOLOGY, PROPHYLAXIS AND TREATMENT OF SURGICAL SEPTICEMIA: A DISCUSSION OF THE PRINCIPLES INVOLVED. Arch Otolaryngol. 1937;26(1):59–65. doi:10.1001/archotol.1937.00650020065009
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