Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases: Prevention and Treatment in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Wesley W. Spink
Copyright Date: 1978
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 600
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsqff
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  • Book Info
    Infectious Diseases
    Book Description:

    Infectious Diseases was first published in 1979. Following an experience of almost fifty years with infectious diseases involving teaching, patient care, and research, Dr. Spink presents a significant history of the control of these diseases. He describes the evolution of developments that led to this control and points out that this achievement is an outstanding contribution to human health. The book is divided into three sections: Background of the Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, Development of Prophylaxis and Therapy for Infectious Diseases in the Twentieth Century, and Evolution of Knowledge of Specific Infectious Diseases. A major feature is a comprehensive bibliography of about 1500 references. There is also a selected, annotated bibliography for those interested in probing further into the historical phases of the subject. The author reviews his clinical experiences in the treatment of many of the different types of infectious diseases before and after the introduction of the sulfonamides and antibiotics. Likewise, he discusses his personal experience with epidemic diseases such as polio and measles before the availability of prophylactic vaccines. He presents firsthand observations of diseases in various areas in the world, and surveys some of the remaining major problems in infectious diseases. Throughout, he emphasizes the importance of preventive medicine and competent public health administration.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6451-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Wesley W. Spink
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  4. SECTION I Background of the Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases
    • CHAPTER 1 Early Concepts of Infection and Methods of Control
      (pp. 3-17)

      The greatest achievement of medical science for human welfare has been the control and management of infectious diseases. This achievement was largely the result of knowledge gained during the second half of the nineteenth century, which came to fruition between 1935 and 1950. The complete history of this knowledge is of course much longer; some concepts of the nature of infectious and epidemic diseases had been formulated over previous centuries on the basis of observation and, in some cases, of experiment. An inquiry into these developments would be very extensive, dating back to early Egyptian and Greek periods. It is...

    • CHAPTER 2 Development of Bacteriology, Immunology, and Virology
      (pp. 18-27)

      Fracastoro's view, stated in 1530, that diseases could be transmitted through the air by means of seeds or germs, was finally proved more than three hundred years later. This did not happen suddenly; rather it was the culmination of developments in scientific thought and technology in which the participants were many, with Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch providing the final leadership. Their work was closely related to advances in chemistry, biology, physiology, and pathology, especially the cellular pathology of Rudolph Virchow.

      One of the most important questions in the development of the germ theory of diseases was that of the...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Evolution of Public Health at National and International Levels
      (pp. 28-58)

      The nineteenth century was a time of rapidly changing social conditions. One of the results was the necessity for improving and refining public health measures. Large numbers of people had migrated from Europe to Great Britain and to the United States, settling in urban communities. The cholera epidemic of 1831-1832 made goverment authorities keenly aware of the magnitude of the health problem.

      In response to this situation, organized activities were developed to correct some of the social maladjustments that contributed to poor health and epidemic diseases. A primary objective was to control crowd diseases due to infections. This was approached...

  5. SECTION II The Development of Prophylaxis and Therapy for Infectious Diseases in the Twentieth Century
    • CHAPTER 4 The Pre-Sulfonamide Era
      (pp. 61-71)

      The establishment of the specific microbial causes of diseases in the nineteenth century rapidly led to specific methods for preventing and treating infections. Prophylactic vaccines were developed for protection against epidemic diseases. Specific antisera became available, followed by the era of the sulfonamides and antibiotics. Chemotherapy was extended to the control of epidemic diseases through chemical insecticides that destroyed insect vectors of diseases.

      About one hundred years after Jenner introduced cowpox vaccine for smallpox, Pasteur and his associates initiated the modern era of prophylactic vaccination for fowl cholera, anthrax, swine erysipelas, and rabies, using viable organisms with attenuated virulence. The...

    • CHAPTER 5 Chemotherapy and the Sulfonamides
      (pp. 72-88)

      Modern chemotherapy originated in the rapid development of organic chemistry in Germany in the nineteenth century. Chemotherapy owes much to Paul Ehrlich, who is recognized as one of the foremost medical scientists of his generation (Dolman, 1971). Martha Marquardt (1951), his faithful secretary, has written a warm biography, and Sir Henry Dale (1960) has written a brief but excellent summary of his scientific career.

      Ehrlich was a chemist and a physician. He was related through his mother to the pathologist Carl Weigert. Ehrlich resembled Metchnikoff in personal traits, being highly imaginative and excitable and enthusiastically dedicated to science. He was...

    • CHAPTER 6 Penicillin and the Cephalosporins
      (pp. 89-107)

      Shortly after the introduction of sulfonamide therapy into medicine, civilization was embroiled in World War II. It would not appear to have been an auspicious time to pursue such revolutionary investigations further. But human imagination and industry sometimes rise to great heights during times of catastrophe. Even under the difficult circumstances of war, much progress was made in therapy for infectious diseases. This came about, not so much through the further synthesis and evaluation of chemicals as through a concern with some old microbiological concepts — those of "antibiosis." The term designates a form of microbial antagonism that occurs during...

    • CHAPTER 7 Streptomycin
      (pp. 108-115)

      Tuberculosis was one of the most common infectious diseases until the early twentieth century, causing chronic ill health with a significant mortality rate. Robert Koch isolated tubercle bacilli from human lesions, grew the organisms on a medium containing blood serum, and reproduced the disease in guinea pigs (Koch, 1882, translation 1938). Doctor Edward Livingston Trudeau, himself a victim of serious chronic tuberculosis who established the first tuberculosis sanatorium in the United States at Saranac, New York in 1884, wrote (1916, p. 174), "If I could learn to grow the tubercle bacillus outside of the body and produce tuberculosis at will...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Tetracyclines
      (pp. 116-121)

      The pattern of large pharmaceutical companies during and after World War II in the search for new antibiotics was continued in the development of the tetracycline drugs in the United States. Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River, New York and Parke, Davis & Company in Detroit, Michigan initiated research independently in 1939 on the isolation of antibiotics (Dowling, 1959). Chas. Pfizer & Company in Brooklyn, New York shared in the production of penicillin during World War II. The Pfizer research staff also undertook a search for new antibiotics in the soil, although it is not entirely clear when this work started. The search...

    • CHAPTER 9 Chloramphenicol and Other Antibiotics
      (pp. 122-125)

      The search for antibiotic-producing soil microorganisms continued. An important discovery was made in the Research Laboratories of Parke, Davis & Company in Detroit in cooperation with Professor Paul Burkholder of the botany department at Yale University when a new actinomycete,Streptomyces rimosus, was isolated from a sample of soil obtained from a mulched stubble field in Caracas, Venezuela. The antibiotic chloramphenicol (chloromycetin) came from this source. Two brief reports on this discovery appeared inSciencefor October 31, 1947 (Ehrlich et al., 1947; Smadel and Jackson, 1947). The first, from the laboratories of Parke-Davis, described the in vitro action of the...

    • CHAPTER 10 Antibiotics and Animal Nutrition
      (pp. 126-130)

      The successful application of modern chemotherapy to infectious diseases and the preservation of human health has had a corollary in its beneficial effect on animal health. An unexpected success has been a marked improvement in animal nutrition and a rapid gain in weight accompanying the ingestion of antibiotics by apparently healthy animals.

      The use of antibiotics in animals with infections has been limited to local application and systemic administration through oral and parenteral routes. Large-scale systematic administration has been greatly limited because few existing diseases really require the excessively large, costly doses of drugs. The control of animal diseases, especially...

  6. SECTION III Evolution of Knowledge of Specific Infectious Diseases
    • CHAPTER 11 The Interpretation of Fever
      (pp. 133-141)

      Fever has been regarded as the sine quo non of infection since the time of Hippocrates, but the true relationship of fever to infection has been understood only in modern times. For two thousand years fever was looked upon not as a part of the symptom complex of an illness, but as the illness itself expressed in many different ways. Until the specific microbial causes of fever were established, physicians tried to classify febrile states on the basis of clinical and epidemiological observations.

      For over a thousand years after Hippocrates fever was detected in the patient by the physician through...

    • CHAPTER 12 Epidemic Diseases Subject to Maritime Control
      (pp. 142-167)

      At the beginning of the twentieth century six epidemic diseases were subject to maritime quarantine. These were plague, smallpox, typhus, yellow fever, cholera, and leprosy. The diseases not only caused severe loss of life, but they disrupted the social and economic order of the afflicted communities and states. Plague in particular filled people with fear and terror, stimulating medical historians and others to produce an extensive literature on the subject. Two recent students of plague were Dr. R. Pollitzer (1954), a bacteriologist with the Manchurian Plague Prevention Service who wrote a volume on the subject for the World Health Organization,...

    • CHAPTER 13 Communicable Diseases of Childhood
      (pp. 168-206)

      The control of the communicable diseases of childhood is one of the primary medical achievements of the twentieth century. These afflictions include the enteric diseases of infancy as well as rubeola (measles), rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, streptococcal diseases, and poliomyelitis. Despite what has been accomplished, many countries throughout the world are still besieged by these illnesses. Certain ones attack both children and adults, such as streptococcal and staphylococcal infections, respiratory diseases, enteric infections, and virus conditions.

      There is a spectrum of diseases in which the clinical manifestations are due to bacterial exotoxins that are disseminated...

    • CHAPTER 14 Respiratory Diseases
      (pp. 207-239)

      In a modern industrial society upper respiratory infections cause more disability in otherwise healthy individuals than any other affliction. A pertinent scientific study carried out on twenty-five thousand illnesses in a group of families in Cleveland, Ohio between January I, 1948 and May 31, 1957 showed that each person in a family of three or more averaged 5.6 respiratory infections per year, which were caused by a wide spectrum of microbes, mostly viruses (Dingle, Badger, and Jordan, Jr., 1964). In this as in many other studies bacteria were not found to be the primary cause of the common cold (Andrewes,...

    • CHAPTER 15 Enteric Diseases
      (pp. 240-263)

      The enteric diseases have probably disturbed man since his earliest days and were of concern to Moses, as shown by his insistence on appropriate sanitary laws. These diseases are transmitted directly from human to human, or indirectly to man through contaminated food and water and by insect vectors. The diseases, though ancient in origin, still afflict millions of people all over the world. The control of these diseases has been most successful through improved sanitation, public health measures to eliminate contamination of food and water, and — to a lesser extent — the modern achievements of specific vaccines and antibiotics....

    • CHAPTER 16 Suppurative Diseases
      (pp. 264-303)

      Little progress was made in the control and treatment of suppurative conditions until the nineteenth century. Before that time there was not much hope for the patient nor aid from the physician in cases of suppuration following surgery or trauma. Acceptance of the germ theory of disease and the concept of contagion contributed to the principles of aseptic surgery as formulated by Semmelweis for puerperal sepsis and by Lister for wound suppuration.

      Professor Arthur Bloomfield has stated (1953d, p. 135), "So much has been written on every phase of rheumatic fever that the bibliographer is confronted with an almost hopeless...

    • CHAPTER 17 Venereal Infections
      (pp. 304-319)

      Gonorrhea¹ and syphilis² are strictly human infections, usually transmitted from human to human through direct contact. Although the precise nature of these two diseases was poorly understood until the nineteenth century, there is evidence that gonorrhea was recognized during the early stages of human history (Finger, 1893, translation 1894). Gonorrhea was considered to be contagious in the Biblical days of Moses. The early evidence for syphilis is not so evident, but the disease attracted attention in the fifteenth century, when epidemics occurred throughout Europe. Any serious historical delineation of these two diseases before this period is not possible. When the...

    • CHAPTER 18 Rickettsioses
      (pp. 320-333)

      The human rickettsial diseases are characterized by fever, rash, and disturbances of the central nervous system. The causative microbes occupy a place between bacteria and viruses and can be visualized by a light microscope. They can be described as small, intracellular, gram-negative, bacterium-like organisms. The reservoirs are principally small rodents, but man and other vertebrates are involved as well. These diseases are also transmitted by arthropods, an important factor in successful prevention.

      The generic term Rickettsia was introduced in 1916 by H. da Rocha-Lima in honor of Dr. Howard Taylor Ricketts of the University of Chicago, who in 1906 first...

    • CHAPTER 19 Infections of the Central Nervous System Due to Viruses
      (pp. 334-349)

      Encephalitis, like pneumonia, is caused by a wide variety of microbes, parasites, chemicals, and metabolic derangements. With the development of refined techniques and expanding knowledge, a spectrum of viruses has been shown to cause inflammation of the brain, including the viruses of rubeola, rubella, varicella, and pertussis, all of which have been considered elsewhere (see Section III, Chapter 13). The present discussion is concerned with encephalitis and the systemic complications due to arboviruses and slow viruses.

      Arboviruses, as defined by a WHO scientific group, "are viruses which are maintained in nature principally, or to an important extent, through biological transmission...

    • CHAPTER 20 Parasitic Diseases
      (pp. 350-390)

      While bacteriology was achieving scientific status in the nineteenth century, so was the related discipline of parasitology, concerned chiefly with protozoan and helminthic infections and with the vectors that transmit the diseases. It had been known for centuries that man and animals harbored worms. Their appearance in the intestinal tract and other tissues was assumed to have originated through spontaneous generation. Almost two hundred years elapsed before definitive scientific advances were achieved in parasitology.

      Doctor Theobald Smith was one of America's most productive medical scientists. He had a broad interest in parasitism, viewing it as a universal biological phenomenon, an...

    • CHAPTER 21 Infections Due to Fungi and Actinomyces
      (pp. 391-411)

      The word "fungus" is derived from Latin and means "mushroom," while "mycology" is Greek and means "the study of fungi." Fungi include molds and yeasts, but the actinomyces are now classified as bacteria, which tend to form branching filaments. A typical fungus has a thallus with branching hyphae, called mycelia, although some nonmycelial forms do occur. There are at least a hundred thousand species of fungi. They are plantlike but possess no chlorophyll; for nutrition they utilize the organic material of decaying plants and animals, and the latter in turn is converted into humus. Fungi do not form roots, stems,...

    • CHAPTER 22 Zoonoses
      (pp. 412-439)

      On December 11-16, 1950 a joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Zoonoses met for the first time to formulate guidelines on the interrelationships between human health and animal diseases. Zoonoses were defined as "those diseases which are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man." This field was considered one of the major branches of veterinary public health, and the professional aim involved "all the community efforts influencing and influenced by the veterinary medical arts and sciences applied to the prevention of disease, protection of life, and promotion of the well-being and efficiency of man" (World Health Organization Expert Committee on Zoonoses,...

    • CHAPTER 23 What of the Future?
      (pp. 440-446)

      In the history of the control of infectious diseases, the establishment of specific microbial causes of infections was essential for advances in therapy and prevention. This achievement has had its greatest impact in the period since World War II. A second factor in this history originated in the earliest of civilized societies. The compassion of man, ruthless as he was at times, moved him to aid the poor and the sick, an impulse that became part of many religions. This human factor flowered in the nineteenth century in the form of private and public philanthropy toward the alleviation and prevention...

  7. Appendix I. Shattuck Report of Massachusetts, 1850
    (pp. 449-454)
  8. Appendix II Constitution of The World Health Organization
    (pp. 455-456)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 459-464)
  10. Suggested Readings
    (pp. 467-482)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 483-544)
  12. Name Index
    (pp. 547-565)
  13. Subject Index
    (pp. 566-577)