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January 24, 1914


Author Affiliations

Surgeon, United States Public Health Service PROVIDENCE, R. I.

JAMA. 1914;LXII(4):288-289. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560290038013

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On June 15, 1912, bubonic plague was discovered in Puerta de Tierra, a squalid district outside the old walls of San Juan, Porto Rico. The positive diagnosis was made three days after the first cases were found and so reported to the acting governor by the assistant director of health and the representative of the United States Public Health Service. The governor promptly proclaimed the existence of plague, thus making a record of promptness and honesty.

As was natural, a panic ensued, and the roads leading from San Juan were filled with all manner of vehicles rushing away, many not knowing where. All supposed that a quarantine would be imposed and that no one would be allowed to leave the city, which accounts for much of the rush to be away. Indeed, many in high office strongly urged military cordons, and burning of the districts in which cases occurred, radical

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