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JAMA Dermatology a Century Ago |

The Etiology of Scarlet Fever

Mark S. Bernhardt, MD
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(11):1268. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5682.
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The Journal of Cutaneous Diseases

November 1913


The Ætiology of Scarlet Fever. Martin Kretschmer, p. 11.

Kretschmer has assembled in this one article short resumés of a very large number of papers considering the subject from various angles. The arrangement of the various articles is very logical and orderly. All communications of the same phase are reviewed together. As a result, the reader can consider each portion as an entity from whose total the final conclusion is easily drawn.

Without going into details, we may sum up by saying that the reader will emerge from the reading of Kretschmer’s paper with much new information acquired, a clearer idea of the points of conflict and the trend of study and, finally, that the exact nature of scarlet fever has still to be determined. As Kretschmer states in his last paragraph, the search for the cause of scarlet fever has, up to date, been without result. It is his further conclusion that, although the streptococcus is constantly found in scarlet fever and its complications, yet contrary to the case in yellow fever and foot-and-mouth disease, serologic methods and animal inoculation fail to confirm the hypothesis that the streptococcus is the cause of scarlet fever. Moreover, enthusiasm has led to the publication of many alleged discoveries, none of which have withstood the test of investigation. Finally, the sparse reports of positive results by means of animal inoculation with filtered and unfiltered scarlet fever material are so conflicting that they can not be accepted without further confirmation.

J Cutan Dis. 1913;31(11):962.

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