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July 6, 1907


Author Affiliations

Instructor in Physical Diagnosis, University of Pennsylvania. PHILADELPHIA.

JAMA. 1907;XLIX(1):30-37. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25320010030002i

CAUSES OF DIPHTHERIA PREVALENCE.  From the public health viewpoint, diseases are studied in order to prevent their spread. Effective prophylactic measures, based on scientific observations, have caused some infectious diseases to disappear from civilized communities, while others have become comparatively rare. Yet, despite the ever-increasing knowledge as to its bacteriology and methods of propagation, diphtheria still remains a fairly common affection. Why is this?One reason is that only the well-marked cases are isolated and placarded, while persons suffering from the milder forms of diphtheria are permitted to walk the streets, attend school and frequent public places. Another unguarded avenue of contagion is kept open through the false sense of security given by the rules now in vogue as to disinfection. Fomites, which, as shown by Chapin,† Hill, Weichard and Welch, only rarely contain the germs, are required to be disinfected, while no attention is paid to the virulent bacilli

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