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July 28, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(4):285-286. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590310037012

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We have no means of knowing to what extent the reports of the use of bacterial cultures among civilian populations as a war measure are founded on fact. Some of the alleged activities of this sort, such as the supposed application of tetanus spores to court plaster, are not likely even if true to be anything more than the vagaries of irresponsible individuals, and can hardly be believed by any one to have official sanction, much less instigation. On the other hand, definite charges have been made from authoritative sources that, contrary to the terms of the Fourth Hague Convention, pathogenic bacteria have been employed by official agencies to spread disease among men and animals. In the note from the Roumanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the governments of neutral states, such specific charges are made in detail and are supported by documentary evidence.

Whatever credence one gives to statements

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