COMMENTARY Complete Recovery of a 6-Month-Old Infant Treated With Penicillin BRAHAM M. LITVAK, TREATING ACCESS TO PENICILLIN director of pediat- PNEUMOCOCCAL MENINGITIS BEFORE PENICILLIN rics at Beth-El Hos- Reports that gram-positive organ- pital in Brooklyn, isms such as the pneumococcus re- New York, and his Eminent pediatrician Luther Em- sponded to penicillin excited phy- colleagues Emanuel Appelbaum and mett Holt observed in the first is- sicians, who then became anxious to Morton Greene could scarcely be- sue of AJDC in 1911 that the diag- try it in clinical practice. However, lieve their eyes in early November nosis of pneumococcal meningitis obtaining penicillin proved diffi- 4(p36) 1943 at the response of a 6-month- was “almost invariably fatal.” As cult before 1945 because the mili- old “moribund” infant to the new pediatrician and infectious disease tary controlled most of the supply drug penicillin. They character- researcher Hattie Alexander de- during World War II. By March ized the infant’s “dramatic” recov- tailed in AJDC in 1943, until the ad- 1942, only enough penicillin had ery from highly fatal “pneumococ- vent of sulfonamide therapy in the been produced by American com- cic” meningitis as “little short of late 1930s, standard treatment for panies
JAMA Pediatrics – American Medical Association
Published: May 1, 2011
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