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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 11, 2007


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2007;298(2):234. doi:10.1001/jama.298.2.234-b

Announcement was made in the newspapers recently that the public health officials of Texas were about to proclaim a permanent quarantine against all cases of advanced tuberculosis, placing the disease in the same class with smallpox and yellow fever as a peril to the public health. If the report is true it is to be hoped that the health authorities have by this time reconsidered their determination. The conquest of tuberculosis is not to be achieved by such measures as quarantine, but by building up the resistance and improving the environment. The danger of infection from even the most advanced cases is not comparable to that of other legitimately quarantinable diseases; it is avoidable by the use of very simple and practicable precautions. Even advanced cases—a rather indefinite class—are sometimes curable, and if the climatic conditions in Texas are such as to afford some of the sufferers their best chance for recovery or relief the proposition to exclude them from such benefits is liable to be criticized as hardly creditable, under the circumstances, to the head and heart of the one originating it. It is useless to attempt to exclude a ubiquitous infection by any such methods, and it is worse than futile to attempt to excuse them on the ground of philanthropy or a desire to protect the citizens of the state. As might have been expected, the proposition is reported to have aroused a storm of protests from Texans who see in it a great threat against the honor and prosperity of the state, and it is to be hoped that their wishes will prevail.

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