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To the Editor:—
Besides infantile paralysis and encephalitis spoken of by Hans Zinsser (The Journal, May 11, p. 1700), many other diseases with marked characteristics have emerged within the last century, and even within the last few years. This seems strange, in view of the fact that it is often stated that physicians of the past possessed a very keen sense of observation and their "horse sense" was by far superior to modern clinical and laboratory methods.In this connection it is of interest to quote a statement by the French clinician Edouard Rist:"It is strange," writes Rist (La tuberculose, Paris, Librairie Arman Colin, 1927), "that certain affections, the symptoms and course of which appear to us sufficiently characteristic as to be distinguished by simple clinical observation without the assistance of special technical methods, failed to be identified by our predecessors for many centuries. Measles and scarlet fever, for
Fried BM. SO-CALLED NEW DISEASES. JAMA. 1935;104(26):2384. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760260072025