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August 18, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(7):567-568. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590340067014

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One of the great dangers to health from the assembling of large numbers of soldiers in barracks and camps is contact infection. Under this head are included such modes of conveyance as the inhalation of the minute microbe-laden droplets sprayed out from the mouth in the act of sneezing, coughing, laughing or speaking, the contamination of the fingers from handled objects of all sorts, and other multifarious methods by which living pathogenic microorganisms are transferred. Running all through the phenomena of contact infection is the significant fact that the transference of disease germs is fairly direct and immediate and that the share of inanimate objects—formites—is relatively unimportant. It is the freshly smeared door-knob or push-button, the man who is in the same company or who sleeps in the adjoining bed that is most commonly the source of infection. Under natural conditions the majority of the bacteria pathogenic for man do

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