Pel-Ebstein fever


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1885Pieter Klazes Pel first described this phenomenon in Berliner klinische Wochenschrift. A 25-year-old paper maker died after a four-month illness, in which five 10-30 day episodes of fever, each with swelling of the spleen, alternated with fever-free intervals of 10-15 days. On autopsy, the spleen weighed 1570g and the mesenteric and retroperitoneal lymph nodes were greatly enlarged. Pel admits that the pseudo-leukemia is a disease that is difficult to define, but attempts to distinguish two forms, depending on whether the spleen or the lymph nodes (Morbus Hodgkin) are most affected. [1885; 22(1): 3-7]

1886 – Pel published two further cases in the Dutch Journal of Medicine (Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde) [1886; 40; 341-358.]

1887 – German internist Wilhelm Ebstein published the case of a woman with periodic fever, without a fatal outcome. He believed it was an infectious disease and not a pseudo-leukemia [24(31): 565-568]. Pel riposted the following month with a detailed description of the two patients mentioned by Ebstein [24(35): 644-646].

Associated Persons

Alternative names

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the names behind the name

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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