Reviews and Notices of Books

1900 The Lancet  
THIS work gives a very good and interesting account of plague. Not only has the very voluminous literature bearing on this subject been traversed in search of information in order to bring the volume up to date, but the results of the author's reflections thereon are set forth, with the addition of numerous observations drawn from his own large field of experience. Dr. Montenegro's work has been translated by Dr. Munro, and the author has specially written an appendix for the English edition in
more » ... English edition in which he has been enabled to add details of later investigations and results than were possible when the original book was first published in the Spanish language. As we have said, the literature about plague is already very voluminous and the reader views the accumulation of books, reviews, and reports-official and otherwise-with an embarrassed feeling akin to that which we may suppose a mouse to feel when suddenly encountering a large mass of provender; he does not know where to begin. Plague is an acute infectious fever caused by the bacillus pestis of Kitasato and Yersin and it is the only known disease of the class which attacks epidemically and simultaneously man and certain of the lower animals. It differs from some other infectious maladies in not being a water-borne disease, but the results of investigation point to the probability of its being rat-borne-at any rate as one of the vehicles for its spread. The factors for the dissemination and prevalence of the disease are the presence of the bacillus, susceptible material for it to work upon, and a suitable environment. The knowledge of plague which we have acquired of late years has modified very much the ideas which were derived from reading about its terrible epidemics in the past; but it ' , , must be confessed that notwithstanding the enormous amount of labour-scientific, clinical, and hygienic-that has been devoted to the subject and the prophylactic methods for ! fortifying the system against the attacks, of which those living centuries ago had not the faintest conception, there still remain many points which require to be cleared up, especially as to the life-history of its bacillus discovered almost simultaneously by Kitasato and Yersin in 1894. The subject does not manifestly lend itself to any brief discussion. One of the briefest and bestprieis of the information acquired in India and elsewhere in regard to plague that we have met with is contained in the official
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(01)70555-7 fatcat:ovvfksdnbna4lcnuelj3zljapu