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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 1, 2008

THE PRESENT PANDEMIC OF PLAGUE.

JAMA. 2008;300(13):1597. doi:10.1001/jama.300.13.1597

The present prevalence of plague is now in the fifteenth year of its spread. In the lines of march taken since its advance in 1894 from the province of Yunnan, China, it has by gradual expansion spread to all quarters of the globe, fixing itself in many cases in localities from which the most carefully planned preventive measures have failed to dislodge it. Last week we referred briefly1 to a pamphlet issued by the Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service entitled “The Present Pandemic of Plague” by Assistant Surgeon-General J. M. Eager. The geographical progress of the epidemic is described by Dr. Eager and he gives in the form of tables the localities throughout the world in which plague has occurred. Within six years after its revival plague had reached every continent, and the further extension of the disease became largely a matter of intracontinental diffusion. Fifty-two countries have been infected since the primary outbreak. A few cases only have been recorded in some of the countries invaded and apparently the disease has been suppressed, but in other countries it has established itself firmly, causing great mortality. As a whole the disease has continually gained territory. The routes taken in its travel by sea are shown in the extensive tables of plague on vessels given in the pamphlet indicating that during the present prevalence the disease has advanced, as in previous pandemics, along the highways of commerce.

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