Skip to main content

Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"

See other formats

TETANUS.                             283

until there is sufficient toxemia to produce spasms, and
that therefore it is impossible to attack the disease in its
inception; we are obliged to meet it upon the same
grounds as diphtheria in the later days of the disease—
a time when it is well known that the chances of im-
provement are greatly lessened.

Of course, as there is no other remedy that combats
the disease at all, the antitoxin is one which, when ob-
tainable, should always be employed.

An interesting observation has been recently made by
Wasserman,1 who, assuming that the destruction of
nerve-cells in the cerebrum and cord during tetanus tox-
emia might have something to do with immunity, be-
lieved it possible to obtain from these cells an immuniz-
ing substance. Investigating the subject, he found that
when fresh brain or spinal cord was rubbed up in a mor-
tar with physiological salt solution, and injected into ani-
mals, the mixture had the power not only to confer upon.
them an immunity lasting for twenty-four hours, but also
was potent enough to neutralize the effects of an injec-
tion of tetanus toxin ten times as large as that necessary
to kill the animal in doses of i

These observations may offer a possible solution of the
difficult problem laid before us by Montesano and Mon-
tesson,2 who unexpectedly found the tetanus bacillus in
pure culture in the cerebro-spinal fluid of a case of para-
lytic dementia that died without a tetanic symptom.

1  Berlin, klin. Wochenschrift, 1898, No. I.

2  Centralbl.f. Bakt^ u. Parasitenk., Bd. xxii., Nos. 22, 23, p. 663. Dec., 1897.