Pfannenstiel1 gave the first detailed description of familial icterus of new-born children. He described two fatal cases and collected the scattered reports in the literature. The cause of familial icterus of new-born children is unknown. The disease has nothing in common with Buhl's or Winckel's disease. There is no evidence to prove that familial icterus is due to septic processes. It is not present at birth, but appears during the first days of life. In none of the cases is there a history of birth injury, nor does it seem to be due to toxemia of pregnancy. Most of these children are strong, robust and mature at birth. One might say that the children are in a sense physically defective and very soon become incapacitated to carry on extra-uterine existence. It is possible that the liver failed in the performance of its extra-uterine function.
The disease may occur in