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THE GERM-THEORY OF DISEASE.

own assistants, has been less conclusive. In Hungary the immunity obtained by vaccination was not absolute, while the protective vaccination itself destroyed some fourteen per cent of the herds.

Yet, though much of the enthusiasm generated by Pasteur's researches may proceed further than the facts warrant, he has at least opened a new path which promises to lead to results of the highest importance to mankind.

The ideal treatment of any parasitic disease would be to administer drugs which have a specific destructive influence upon the parasites, but spare their host, i.e., the cells of the animal body. But no substance of such virtue is known to us. All so-called antiseptics, i.e., chemicals arresting bacterial life, injure the body as much as if not more than the bacteria. For the latter of all living beings are characterized by their resistance to poisons. Some attempts, indeed, have been made to cure bacterial (if not all) diseases by the internal use of carbolic acid, but they display such innocent naïveté as not to merit serious consideration. More promising than this search after a new philosopher's stone is the hope of arresting bacterial invasion of the human body by rendering the conditions unsuitable for the development of the germs, and thus affording the organism a better chance to struggle with them. Let me illustrate this by an instance described by Pasteur. The chicken is almost proof against splenic fever. This protection Pasteur attributes to the high normal temperature of that animal, viz., 42° Cent. At that degree of warmth the anthrax-bacillus can yet develop, but it is enfeebled. The cells of the bird's body, thriving best at their own temperature, can hence overcome the enfeebled invader. Reduction of the animal's temperature, however, by means of cold baths, makes it succumb to the disease, though recovery will occur if the normal temperature be restored in due time. In the treatment of human diseases, we have not yet realized any practice of that nature, but research in that direction is steadily continuing.

The most direct outcome of the germ-theory, as far as immediate benefits are concerned, is our ability to act more intelligently in limiting the spread of contagious diseases. Knowing the nature of the poison emanated by such patients, and studying the mode of its distribution through nature, we can prevent it from reaching others, and thus spare them the personal struggle with the parasite. In no instance has the benefit derived from a knowledge of the germ-theory been more brilliantly exemplified than in the principles of antiseptic surgery inaugurated by Lister. This benefactor of mankind recognized that the great disturbing influence in the healing of wounds is the admission of germs. It had been well known, prior to his day, that wounds heal kindly if undisturbed, and that the fever and other dangers to life are an accidental, not an inevitable, consequence of wounds. But Lister was the first to point out that these accidents