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March 1939


Author Affiliations

From the Children's Department of the Queens General Hospital, Jamaica, N. Y., City of New York Department of Hospitals, service of Dr. W. C. A. Steffen, director of pediatrics.

Am J Dis Child. 1939;57(3):564-569. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1939.01990030078008

The scratch test for determining the susceptibility of a person to diphtheria differs from the well known Schick test1 in that the method is not intracutaneous but cutaneous. The test is therefore performed and read in the same manner as the Pirquet test for tuberculosis,2 except, of course, that diphtheria toxin instead of tuberculin is used. The work reported here was based on investigations carried out by Reh.3 So far as my knowledge goes, this test has not yet been introduced in this country.

ADVANTAGES  The technic is simple and easy to perform and is therefore especially suited to physicians not accustomed to doing routine intracutaneous testing. It does not require syringes and needles. It is less time consuming, particularly when a large number of persons are to be examined. It is less apt to frighten a nervous mother or child. There is little likelihood of producing