Page:Wound infections and some new methods for the study of the various factors which come into consideration in their treatment.djvu/36

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WOUND INFECTIONS

bacterial infection, we have to take into account not only active defence in the form of phagocytes and bacteriotropic substances which make a direct attack upon micro-organisms; but also passive defence—that is, protection against infection obtained by preventing microbes converting to their uses the nutrient substances of the blood fluids.

These, however, are general considerations with applications far beyond the sphere of wound infections, and we must return to the particular problem of the corruption of the lymph in the wound.

When, after treating a wound with antiseptics and leaving it clean, we find it a very few hours afterwards teeming with microbes, we are in presence of something which, in my view, urgently stands in need of explanation; for our findings both in the lymph leech and in serum cultures made with the wet-wall method from pus would seem to teach us that the sowing of microbes left behind cannot be nearly heavy enough to produce the voluminous culture found in the wound, nor yet to account for the rapidity with which the sero-saprophytes have started to grow. And, moreover, upon consideration it will appear that another powerful factor must constantly come into operation in the wound. The factor in question is the tryptic ferment which is elaborated in the phagocytes and