Dr. Pettenkofer, professor of bacteriology, at the university of Vienna, reached the conclusion that germs do not cause "disease." One day, while instructing his class in the bacteriological laboratory, he startled his students by picking up a glass containing millions of living cholera bacilli and swallowed the entire contents before the astonished students. De Kruif says 'There were enough millions of wriggling comma germs in this tube to infect a regiment, but Pettenkofer only growled through his beard: 'Now let us see if I get cholera.' "
"Mysteriously, nothing happened and the failure of the mad Pettenkofer to come down with cholera remains to this day an enigma without even the beginning of an explanation."
Dr. Thomas Powell, who died a few years ago in California in his eightieth year, is thought to have taken more germs than any other man. Years ago he challenged his medical colleagues to produce a single "disease" in him by germ inoculation. For years many of the germ theorists did their best to silence this discordant note. Cholera germs, bubonic plague germs and germs of every description were innoculated into his body and fed to him in every kind of food. Again and again they scraped his throat raw and painted it with diphtheria germs. But in all these many efforts, not once did they succeed in producing a single "disease" in him.
In Physical Culture (May 1919) John B. Fraser, M.D., C.M., of Toronto, Canada, describes a series of experiments performed there, from 1911 to 1918, to determine whether or not germs cause "disease." They spent the first three years in an effort to determine whether the germ appears before or after the "onset" of the "disease." The verdict was "after the onset." In 1914 the work of "incorporating fresh vigorous germs in food and drink and then using that food in the ordinary way began. Dr. Fraser says:
"The first experiment made was taking fifty thousand diphtheria germs in water, and after a few days suspense and no sign of the disease it was considered that the danger had passed. ***
"In the second experiment one hundred and fifty thousand diphtheria germs were used in milk, and again no signs of diphtheria appeared.
"In the third experiment over one million diphtheria germs were used in food without producing any sign of the disease.
"In the fourth experiment millions of diphtheria germs were swabbed over the tonsils and soft palate, under the tongue, and in the nostrils and still no evidence of the disease was discernible. As these results were very satisfactory it was decided to test out some other kinds of germs. A series of tests were made with pneumonia germs in which millions of germs were used in milk, water, bread, potatoes, meat, etc., and although persistent efforts were made to coax them to develop absolutely no sign of the disease appeared.
"Another series of experiments were carried out with typhoid germs, especial care being taken to infect distilled water, natural milk (not pasteurized) ; bread, meat, fish, potatoes, etc., etc., with millions of the most vigorous germs that could be incubated, and but for the knowledge that they had been taken, one would have known nothing about it.
"Another series of tests were made with the dreaded menengitis germs, and as the germs are believed to develop mainly in the mucous membranes of the nostrils, especial pains were taken to swab millions of the germs over the floor and sides of the nostrils, into the turbinated sinuses, over the tonsils, under the tongue, and back of the throat. In addition to these tests other tests were made in food and drink--millions of germs in each case, and yet no trace of the disease appeared.
"The experiments with the tuberculosis germs were carried out in a different way--more time was given between the experiments so as to allow the germs to develop; for clinical evidence has shown that this disease may remain latent, or imperfectly developed for months. Consequently it meant months of watching and waiting before one could be positive that the germs would not develop.
"Here again millions of germs were used in water, milk, and food of various kinds; every variety of food and drink was concerned; and as almost five years have elapsed since the experiment with T.B. began and no evidence of the disease has appeared I think we are justified in the belief that the germs are harmless. In addition to those experiments combinations of germs were used, such as typhoid and pneumonia, menengitis and typhoid, pneumonia and diphtheria, etc., etc., but no evidence of disease followed.
"During the years 1914-15-16-17-18 over one hundred and fifty experiments were carried out carefully and scientifically and yet absolutely no signs of disease followed."
The London Lancet Medical Journal of Canada (June, 1916) records some of the same or similar experiments by a medical man and six others which covered a period of two and one-half years, and, in which cultures of the germs of various "diseases" particularly those of diphtheria, pneumonia and typhoid were used in all kinds of foods and under the most favorable circumstances. The germs were administered in doses ranging from fifty thousand to one million and five hundred thousand without producing a single evidence of "disease." A number of experiments were made in the Naval Detention camps during the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 to transmit the "disease" from the sick to the well. Several such experiments were made on sixty-eight volunteers from the U. S. Naval Detention Training Camp on Deer Island.
Several groups of volunteers were inoculated with pure cultures of Pfeiffer's bacillus; with the secretions of the upper respiratory passages, and with blood taken from "typical influenza" cases. About thirty of the men had the germs sprayed and swabbed in the nose and throat. The Public Health Report, sums up the results in these words: "In no instance was an attack of influenza produced in any one of the subjects."
Ten other men were carried to the bedside of ten new cases of influenza and spent forty-five minutes with them. Each well man had ten sick men to cough in his face. With what results? "None of these volunteers developed any symptoms of influenza following the experiment."
Some similar experiments conducted in San Francisco are described in another article. Here one group of ten men were given emulsifying cultures of Pfeiffer's bacillus with no results during seven days of observation. Other groups of men, in all forty, were given emulsions of the secretions from the upper respiratory passages of patients in the active stages of influenza. These emulsions were sent into the nose by a medicine dropper and by an atomizer. The results are described in these words: "In every case the results were negative, so far as the reproduction of influenza is concerned. The men were all observed for seven days after inoculation."