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June 7, 1947


JAMA. 1947;134(6):531-532. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880230041013

Barringer1 expressed concern in 1903 over the infection of the roadbeds of American railways through the discharges of typhoid patients traveling over the road while in the infective stage. He argued that "in the well drained but cool and moist soil under the ties and ballast of the modern railway roadbed, baptized day after day and year after year with the albuminous fluids of human excrement, the Bacillus typhosus, once planted in this natural culture medium, will live forever, revitalized at intervals by new infection, perhaps, but in the meantime facultative enough to meet seasonal and other changes." Maxcy2 now reviews the evidence that has accumulated in a half century of experience since the hypothetical existence of this menace from railways was recognized. The study represents an extensive review of the epidemiologic experience with typhoid in relation to railway sanitation in this country and other countries, particularly Germany,

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