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August 4, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(5):366-367. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520050050008

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It is alleged that the West Indian negroes employed on the Panama Canal do not thrive under the sanitary conditions introduced since the American occupation. It is said that they are dying off in large numbers, and this is attributed in the newspaper reports to the unaccustomed exposure due to the free ventilation of the apartments provided for them. It is the custom of the Jamaica negro to sleep in close, unventilated apartments to exclude the night air, and when these conditions are reversed he "catches cold," gets pneumonia and dies. This reasoning may be contested by sanitarians, but it has sufficient plausibility to be acceptable to the average newspaper reader. There is a possibility that the human animal may adapt itself to very insanitary conditions and find itself less resistant to other conditions of exposure when taken from its accustomed environment. The Arctic Esquimaux lives during the winter under

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