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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 23/30, 2012

SANITARY REFORM A SOCIAL MOVEMENT

JAMA. 2012;307(20):2132. doi:10.1001/jama.307.20.2132-b

In an unusually broad and far-sighted editorial in a recent issue, the Toledo (Ohio) Blade in a few lines practically sounds the key-note of the public health campaign. Commenting on a circular recently issued by one of the large life-insurance companies, the Blade says, “The conservation of public life is becoming a great social question, one in which society is taking over responsibilities and functions left heretofore in the hands of the individual.” This sums up the entire situation and also indicates the cause for the marked change taking place in the attitude of the public toward the prevention of disease. Previous to our present knowledge regarding the transmission of contagious diseases, sickness was largely a personal matter between the patient, the family and the physician. In cases in which the fact but not the manner of contagion was known, local health officials could quarantine the patient and prevent others from coming into contact with him.

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