JOURNAL ARTICLE

The last year before the dawn of antibiotics

Harold Ellis
British Journal of Hospital Medicine 2009, 70 (8): 475
19684540
Pick up any bound volume of a general medical journal of 1934 (75 years ago - within the memory of old members of the profession), and there are likely to be papers concerning the dreaded effects of the Gram positive cocci. The pneumococcus, causing often fatal lobar pneumonia in previously fit young people, and the beta-haemolytic streptococcus, producing erysipelas, septicaemia and puerperal sepsis, were especially dangerous. Volume one of the Lancet for that year, for example, contains no less than four papers on different trials of treatment for streptococcal infection as well as a long and learned leading article.

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