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Bodily Response to Infectious Agents

William A. Altemeier, MD
JAMA. 1967;202(12):1085-1089. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130250067011.
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Infection is one of the salient features of human life, and many important infections are of surgical significance. The development of an understanding of this aspect of medicine is, therefore, an essential part of the education of the medical student. As a matter of fact, this presentation is the result of my sustained interest in this subject which began 35 years ago as a medical student. The ubiquity of infectious agents in man's environment, their propensity for invading the physiologic interior of the body, their potential for producing significant effects on the various bodily functions, their remarkable adaptability to circumstance and newer forms of treatment as introduced, and the very necessity for excluding their presence or controlling their growth to permit surgical treatment and wound healing with acceptable standards, all emphasize the significance of infections in surgical practice and the importance of related education.

The remarkable advances in surgery during


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