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April 1913


Am J Dis Child. 1913;V(4):317-321. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1913.04100280034005

In a recently published series of blood-cultures in children1 note was made of a case of bacteriemia due to B. diphtheriae. The chief interest in the case lies in the bacteriological findings—cases of true diphtheria septicemia being extremely rare—but the condition is none the less instructive from a clinical standpoint, since the invasion of the blood occurred as a terminal symptom in a case of marasmus.

It is interesting that the first observer to call attention to the fact that B. diphtheriae is not always restricted in its activity to the mucous membranes was Loeffler himself. In his original communication2 on the morphology, cultural characteristics and pathogenicity of the bacillus that Klebs the year before had described, Loeffler reports the isolation of the organisms from the liver at autopsy in a number of instances.

Since then numerous observers have reported similar findings; Babes;3 Kolisko and Paltauf;4