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September 18, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(12):957-958. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780380041013

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In the Middle Ages, when plague swept across any community, the inhabitants fled to the neighboring hills in panic. They did not know the cause of the disease and they had no specific method of prevention. They did know that, when plague came, people died. In a book by Frederick Prokosch entitled "The Seven Who Fled" there is an accurate picture of a Chinese city confronted with cholera. Among the Chinese an attitude of apathy apparently develops associated with the certainty that some people must inevitably die when the devastating epidemic strikes. In civilized communities, people should no longer be stricken with panic in the presence of disease. Much has been learned concerning the causes, methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of many of the infectious diseases. Patients are isolated. Modern methods of prevention are used to immunize those who are exposed. Known contacts are kept under control and in

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