The case of food poisoning which affected some 150 persons at Derby appears to be undoubtedly a genuine case of ptomaine poisoning. During the last few years many isolated deaths have occurred, after the consumption of some particular kind of food, which have been attributed to ptomaine poisoning, but the evidence put forward in support of this view has not unfrequently been open to grave doubt. At Derby, however, the nature of the outbreak and the symptoms presented by the patients were characteristic, and if further proof were needed it would be contributed by the interim report of Dr. SHERIDAN DELEPINE, of Manchester, who made an examination of the suspected pies and their ingredients. Most people are fully acquainted with the history of this out break, which was not confined to Derby but extended to various parts of the country, in every case the persons attacked having consumed portions of the infected pork pies. Dr. DELEPINE has issued an interim report in which he states that he has isolated a bacillus belonging to the colon group which is, in his opinion, undoubtedly responsible for the pathogenic properties of the pies. The evidence as to the relation of the bacillus to the epidemic is, says Dr. DELEPINE, absolutely clear. The bacillus in question has been isolated from a pork pie, from a pork bone pie, from the blood, spleen and intestines of one of the persons who died, and from the blood, spleen, bile and intestines of several animals which have died in two or three days from the effects of feeding on a pork pie. The bacilli obtained from all these sources were identical in appearance. Animals inoculated with this bacillus have died, and in their blood the same bacillus has been again found and four specimens of blood obtained from patients who had been ill after eating a portion of a pork pie have given, on examination, a clear serum reaction, but the blood of normal persons and also of patients affected with typhoid fever has given no similar clear serum reaction. Dr. DELEPINE has also been able to ascertain the presence of the same bacillus in a pork pie which Dr. ROBERTSON, of Sheffield, had sent him. This statement appears to leave no room for doubt as to the dangerous nature of the pies, and Dr. DELEPINE's complete report will be awaited with considerable interest.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 1, 1902
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