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Article
April 23, 1955

UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN THE STUDY AND CONTROL OF MICROBIAL DISEASES

JAMA. 1955;157(17):1477-1479. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950340007002
Abstract

The student of infectious diseases is almost expected nowadays to attend a ceremony of this sort in a somewhat apologetic mood. Why take time in a crowded program, and claim space in a building that will soon be overcrowded, for a field of medicine presently regarded as having only historical interest? Does one not read everywhere that infectious diseases have been conquered, that the physician can deal effectively with them merely by applying knowledge, techniques, and drugs now in the common domain? First I should like to discuss the validity of this opinion and to examine in very broad terms the problem of infectious diseases as it presents itself in the Western world today.

Most concepts concerning the nature, epidemiology, and control of microbial diseases were formulated during the 19th century. This was a time of widespread and killing epidemics, either introduced from the outside, as were cholera and yellow

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