Made by the University of Chicago during the Scarlet Fever epidemic, this silent film shows the diagnosis of the disease, and the use of anti-toxin in fighting the disease. The discovery of penicillin and its subsequent widespread use has significantly reduced the mortality of this once feared disease.
Scarlet fever can occur as a result of a group A Streptococcus (group A strep) infection. The signs and symptoms include a sore throat, fever, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and a characteristic rash. The rash is red and feels like sandpaper and the tongue may be red and bumpy. It most commonly affects children between five and fifteen years of age.
Scarlet fever affects a small number of people who have either strep throat or streptococcal skin infections. The bacteria are usually spread by people coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread when a person touches an object that has the bacteria on it and then touches their mouth or nose. The characteristic rash is due to the erythrogenic toxin, a substance produced by some types of the bacterium. The diagnosis is typically confirmed by culturing the throat.
There is no vaccine. Prevention is by frequent handwashing, not sharing personal items, and staying away from other people when sick. The disease is treatable with antibiotics which prevents most complications. Outcomes with scarlet fever are typically good. Long-term complications as a result of scarlet fever include: kidney disease, rheumatic heart disease, and arthritis. It was a leading cause of death in children in the early 20th century.
The Dick test was invented in 1924 and was used to identify those susceptible to scarlet fever.[ A broth culture filtrate from an erythrogenic toxin-producing group A streptococcus was injected intracutaneously into susceptible persons. In those susceptible, erythematous and oedematous skin reactions developed by 24 hours after injection. A second injection of antitoxin into the site neutralized the reactions. Nonreactors were considered to have sufficient antibodies to the toxin, thus were not susceptible to scarlet fever.
Gladys Henry Dick and George Frederick Dick developed a vaccine in 1924 that was later eclipsed by penicillin in the 1940s. Broth filtrates were used as the basis for the patent the Dicks took out on their vaccine in 1924 in the United Kingdom and in 1925 in the United States.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k/4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com