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November 11, 1961

Cow Dung and Insanitary Flooring

Author Affiliations

Retired Senior Public Health Bacteriologist, 61 Lloyd's Road, Royapettak, Madras, 14, India

JAMA. 1961;178(6):680. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040450144025

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To the Editor:—  In regard to the query on insanitary flooring by Dr. E. Walter Masters, of Columbia, S. C., and the reply thereto by Dr. Harry Most (Questions and Answers, JAMA175:931 [March 11] 1961), let me be permitted to mention a very striking instance of the value of unbaked cow dung in preventing the spread of plague in infected areas, based on a controlled experiment made in Hyderabad, Deccan, years ago by a medical officer on plague duty.Muslims and Hindus form the normal population of that state, and it was observed during a severe epidemic of plague that the incidence in Hindu homes was much less, almost negligible during some months, than in Muslim houses. The Hindus from time immemorial are in the habit of making an emulsion of cow dung in water and applying it with a piece of cloth over the entire flooring of

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