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October 24, 1931


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, Harvard University Medical School, and the Research Laboratory of the Vermont Department of Public Health.

JAMA. 1931;97(17):1199-1201. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730170011003

The development of immunity to certain infectious diseases in normal individuals similar to that following an attack of the disease has been tacitly accepted by most students of the subject as being due to subclinical infection with the disease virus. The acceptance of this view not only carries with it far reaching implications in regard to the epidemiology of certain diseases but also would bring into question the feasibility or desirability of carrying out certain preventive measures and would turn lines of investigation looking toward the practical control of certain diseases into entirely new channels. For example, if it becomes evident that a given virus is well nigh universal in its distribution and causes only an immunity in the majority of individuals on initial exposure, which will protect against any subsequent exposure and causes the disease only comparatively rarely, it would appear more logical to search for some other circumstance

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