Four strains of Group A streptococci, possessing different degrees of virulence for both mice and rats, were tested for susceptibility to phagocytosis on glass slides, in glass roller tubes, and on the surfaces of freshly excised tissues and moistened filter paper. All of the tests were performed in the absence of serum to exclude the possible presence of opsonins. Only under conditions which allowed surface phagocytosis to take place was there a correlation between virulence and susceptibility to phagocytosis. A similar relationship between virulence and surface phagocytosis was also demonstrable in vivo during the early stages of experimental streptococcal peritonitis. Systematic study of the evolution of the peritonitis revealed that its outcome was determined by the phagocytic reaction which occurred in the first few hours of the infection.

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