A Note on the Apparent Antagonism of a Bacterial Intoxication to a Plasmodial Infection

View More View Less


A colored male patient with meningoencephalitic syphilis was inoculated with Plasmodium falciparum for malariatherapy. Although the inoculation was successful, the malaria infection was atypical, chiefly because the parasites did not attain densities proportional to the elevations of temperature experienced. Although the plasmodial infection was subsiding spontaneously, it was therapeutically terminated on the 14th day of patency without interruption of the fever. It was thereupon discovered that the patient had a gas bacillus infection in the perineal region, which was finally overcome by the massive administration of pencillin, sulfadiazine and antitoxin. Recovery from the gas bacillus infection was complete, although healing of the area from which necrotic tissue had sloughed required several months, and was associated with marked improvement in the syphilitic infection. The plasmodicidal therapy administered could not have been sufficient to have aborted the malaria infection in the manner observed. It appears likely that the gas bacillus infection was active for some days prior to its discovery, and that the soluble exotoxin it produced may have adversely affected the plasmodia.

Author Notes

Station for Malaria Research, Tallahassee, Florida.