It has been shown that a lytic fluid for dysentery bacilli can be obtained from the peritoneum of the guinea pig by intraperitoneal inoculation of live dysentery bacilli, and that the lytic action of such a fluid is not strictly specific, but that it exerts a group action on the dysentery-colon-typhoid group of bacilli. A lytic fluid with similar effects was obtained from a child dying of Flexner dysentery infection, and an anti-colon bacillus lytic fluid from a child who died of intussusception with colon bacillus peritonitis.
The action of the lytic fluid on the dysentery bacilli, both in vivo and in vitro, is to divide the culture into sensitive and resistant strains, and the latter can be carried to a degree of very marked, if not complete resistance to lysis. Such resistant strains are not lysogenic, nor are they agglutinable. The sensitive strains are lysogenic and agglutinable. Varying degrees of sensitive and resistant bacilli exist in a single culture. The sensitive bacilli gradually lose the lysogenic property which they acquired under special conditions, but the very resistant bacilli never acquire that property. It is conceivable that the resistant strains are responsible for the untoward outcome of disease in human beings. Theoretically the administration of lytic fluid should rid the intestinal tract of most of the infecting bacilli, and only if completely resistant bacilli in large numbers remain unacted on is the outcome of the disease a fatal one.