That Soluble Specific Substance
Bacterial infections, as we have seen, remained a cause of significant morbidity and mortality well into the first half of the twentieth century. They remain so today, although the worst culprits are now those acquired not in daily life but in hospitals and other health care facilities. But it is important to remember that neither prevention nor control of bacterial diseases became a possibility until the end of the nineteenth century. Prior to that time, infected individuals either survived—largely on the basis of their intrinsic host defense systems and good fortune—or they succumbed—an outcome that was frighteningly common, even with seemingly trivial infections.