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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 26, 2005


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(16):2105. doi:10.1001/jama.294.16.2105-b

The New Orleans American (sadly misused name) of Oct. 5, 1905, in an editorial, accused the United States Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service of failing to combat successfully the epidemic of yellow fever and of boodling. At this late date it even sneeringly questioned the existence at any time this year of yellow fever in New Orleans. Among other things, it said: “The campaign of the Marine-Hospital Service against the so-called yellow fever is an absolute failure.” This “means loss for the many, profits for the few.” Then it demands the “expulsion of the boodlers.” It is one thing to discuss debatable theories and to expose dishonesty wherever found, but the events of the epidemic can not by any artifice be twisted into any excuse for this offense of the New Orleans paper. To the credit of the press it may be said that few papers have ever approached this depth, for this denotes hopeless depravity. The time is close at hand for the creation by statute of a new variety of treason. If it is treason in time of war for a man to betray his country’s military plans, it certainly should be made treason for a man or a publication in time of deadly peril from disease to foment by false allegations public lack of confidence in the government’s plan of rescue, and in the integrity and ability of the men who risk their lives to save the community from unnecessary deaths. Than this no treachery can be more base. Physicians, citizens and the reputable press should join in asking stringent penalties for this crime against the nation, against humanity.

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