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March 1970

Cat-Scratch Disease: Notes on Its History

Author Affiliations

Jacksonville, Fla
From the Jacksonville Hospitals' Educational Program, Division of the University of Florida Health Center, Jacksonville, Fla.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;119(3):200-203. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100050202002

A receptive mind, trained in investigative inquiry and steeped in experience with the medical problems of children, was responsible for the first recognition of cat-scratch disease. Serendipity was no part of the process. Robert Debré (Fig 1), Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Paris, writes:

The story of the discovery of cat-scratch disease is quite a curious one. In 1931, my co-worker, Dr. G. Semelaigne, and I were struck by the case of a boy, aged 10 years, who was suffering from a suppurating adenitis in the epitrochlear region. There was no pain, heat, or sign of local inflammation, and we had the impression of a cold, fistulized adenitis similar in aspect to tubercular adenitis. However, its location was strange, as was the speed with which the lymph node had become fistulized. All in all, since tuberculosis was still quite common among French children at that time, we were

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