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Iatreia

Print version ISSN 0121-0793

Abstract

VOLCY, Charles. Early research on puerperal fever: Scientific imbroglio and object of reflection. Iatreia [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.2, pp.174-184. ISSN 0121-0793.

This review concerns the first investigations about a prominent disease in the history of medicine, namely: the puerperal fever, murderess of women in labour between the XVII and XIX centuries. It addresses the controversy around the physiological nature and contagiousness of the disease, and analyzes from various perspectives the rejection to doctor Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, discoverer of its mode of transmission. Finally, it refers to the validation of his data and conclusions using modern statistical analyses as well as the philosophical interpretation of his model of discovery and inference.

Keywords : Disinfection; Germ Theory of Disease; Handwashing; Iatrogenic Disease; Parturition; Sepsis.

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