Showing posts with label bacteriology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bacteriology. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 6

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1736


Fort Crook Neb.

Oct 6th 1896


Major Walter Reed U.S.A.

Washington D.C.


Dear Doctor,


As I am anxious to get the laboratory in the new hospital here in shape for a course in bacteriology this winter, I wish to ask if it would inconvenience you too much to send me cultures of the following bacilli, viz; B. Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, Coli communis, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Anthrax, Prodigiosus, Glanders, and Finkler-Prior Vibrio.


All of my cultures became extinct in the move from Fort Omaha to this post as no one looked after them when I left to organize this hospital.


Very Sincerely

WB Banister

Capt. + Asst. Surgeon U.S.A.

The Surgeon

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Letter of the Day: September 19

464 Louisiana Avenue
Health Department, District of Columbia
Washington, September 19th, 1895.

Dr. J.S. Billings,
Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
Army Medical Museum, City.

Dear Sir:-

I am desirous of conducting upon as scientific a basis as possible the present investigation into the causes of the recent increase in typhoid fever in this District. To do this it will, of course, be necessary in some cases to have bacteriological analyses made of water and possibly of milk. This department is, as you are doubtless aware, without the means to make such examinations. Would it be possible to have some of them made at the Army Medical Museum without interfering with the current work? Due credit for such work would of course be given in any report that may be issued.

Very respectfully,
Wm. C. Woodward M.D.
Health Officer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 5 (1 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1515

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

June 5, 1896.

Major Walter Reed,
Surgeon U.S. Army,
Washington D.C.

My dear Doctor:-

Your kind favor is very much appreciated and I am glad I awaited the result of your examination before I entered into a controversy with the officials as to the presence of Anthrax.

The dried specimen of blood was sent me and I had no chance to take precaution against accidental contamination and it remained for me to determine whether among other organisms the anthrax was there. I am curious to know what the rod shaped organism was, which was spore bearing and which not only liquefied gelatin, but showed the feathery growth in slab culture and which was non-motile.

A stained specimen showed segmental chains not unlike anthrax.

I shall abide your decision of course and keep quiet as to positive diagnosis.

I am,
Very respectfully,
J. Hamilton Stone,
1st Lieutenant and Asst. Surgeon U.S. Army

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 28 (2 of 2) - Leprosy? Or syphilis?

Treasury Department
Office of the Supervising Surgeon-General, M.H.S.
Washington, D.C., March 28th, 1895

To the Supervising Surgeon-General,
U.S. Marine Hospital Service,


I have the honor to make the following report on a specimen from a supposed case of leprosy, submitted for examination by Dr. C.O. Probst, Secretary of the Ohio State Board of Health.

The specimen presented for examination is a portion of the left hand, including the little and ring fingers. The entire member is thickened to about twice its natural size.

On the dorsum of the hand is an extensive superficial ulcer with sharply defined edge and irregular margin. At the wrist the ulceration has extended deeply through the tissues, amputating the hand at this point. A similar process seems to have affected the tip of the ring finger.

Sections were made and studied from seven different places. Four were taken from the edge of the ulcer, two from its center, and one through the skin and thickened subcutaneous tissue, including the nerve going to the little finger.

All the sections disclosed a general hypertrophy of the parts and a larger overgrowth of connective tissue. Some of the specimens from the edge of the ulcer showed the histology of the specific granulomata. A thickening of the blood vessel walls was noticed in the subcutaneous tissue.

All the sections were stained for lepra bacilli, with negative results. Those sections containing giant cells were also stained for tubercle bacilli, none were found.

The disease, therefore, in my opinion in neither leprosy nor tuberculosis, which, by exclusion, throws some weight upon the suspicion of syphilis.

Very respectfully,

(signed) M. J. Rosenau,
Passed Assistant Surgeon, M.H.S.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Letter of the Day, March 19

As we can see from this letter, the Museum did a lot of examinations for bacteria.

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 7395

War Department,
Office of the Surgeon General,
Army Medical Museum and Library,

March 19, 1904

1st Lieut. Clyde S. Ford,
Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Fort H. G. Wright,
New York

Dear Doctor:

Your letter of the 16th inst. With slides and cultures were received this morning. I have examined both cultures and find the streptococcus quite numerous in the culture from Olsen, while only a few chains are found in the one from Beecher. No diptheria bacilli could be found in either and I think you are right in regarding the cases as those of streptococcus infection. We will incubate the tubes and make another examination on Monday; if we find the diptheria bacillus I will let you know; if you do not hear from me you will know the result is negative.

Yours very truly,
James Carroll
1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Medical Museum

Another example of bacterial examination was done two days previously…

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 7392

War Department,
Office of the Surgeon General,
Army Medical Museum and Library,

March 17, 1904

To the Surgeon General,
U.S. Army
(Through the Officer in charge of Museum & Library Division)


I have the honor to submit the following report of the result of a bacteriological examination of three (3() samples of water from the White House, and which were numbered 1, 2 and 3 respectively:

No. 1, from tap in basement of White House. No gas appeared in any of the ten fermentation tubes charged each with 1 c.c. of the water an dincubated for four days. Numerical count: 783 bacteria per cubic centimeter.

No. 2, water passed through one cylinder of the filter. Two of the ten fermentation tubes contain 10% and 12% of gas respectively on the fourth day. The quantity of the gas was too small and its formation too slow to be indicative of the presence fo the colon bacillus. Numerical count: 646 bacteria per cubic centimeter.

No. 3, from tap in basement of office of White House. Of ten fermentation tubes charged with this water, two cotnained gas in the proportion of 45 and 60 per cent respectively on the fourth day. No gas was present after 24 hours and the quantity ultimately formed was too large for the colon bacillus. Numerical count: 663 bacteria per cubic centimeter.

Summary. The number of bacteria present in all the samples is excessive, the permissible maximum number being 100 per c.c. The excess may be due to multiplication of bacteria in the filter iteslf as a result of imperfect cleansing or lack of proper means for sterilizing it; to multiplication of bacteria in the water in storage after filtration or to imperfection in the filter itself. No. 2 was perfectly clear when received; No. 3 was slightly clouded and No. 1 was yellowish in color and has since thrown down a rather dense precipitate. The defect might be remedied to some extent by more frequent and more prolonged washings of the filtering material or by changing its composition which is boneblack, sand and polarite in varying proportions according to the character of the water to be filtered.

Very respectfully,

James Carroll
1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Medical Museum

Friday, January 29, 2010

Letter of the Day: January 29 (5 of 5)

Anyone know what Sour Ham is?

Swift and Company

Kansas City Stock Yards

Kansas City

Address All Mail To Station ‘A’




Dr. Sternberg,

Bacterialogical (sic) Dept.,

Washington, D.C.


Dear Sir:-


Referring to our favor of recent date, we enclose herewith memorandum invoice covering 2 Sour Hams, shipped [to] you.


Will appreciate a copy of your report when completed on these two hams. Shipment made at the request of Dr. D. H. White.


Yours respectfully,


Swift and Company,


Per, JAH


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What was 'black tongue?'

We got a research inquiry today asking ‘what was ‘black tongue’ which threw me for a moment as I’d never heard of it. Fortunately my predecessors recorded information about it.

Black Tongue was a common name for erysipelas – see the two attached documents from the Medical & Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (3rd Surgical vol.) in the footnote starting on the first page. gives an overview and you can see why it would be a dangerous disease before antibiotics.