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August 23, 1965


JAMA. 1965;193(8):679. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090080041012

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The relationship of disease to economic status and social condition needs no example. Rarely, as with poliomyelitis, there is an inverse ratio, but commonly the poor man living in the lowest ranks of society suffers the most. This is today, as it has been throughout the past, the status of leprosy.

There have been statesmen, kings, rulers, nabobs, and rich men who have had leprosy, and it is easy to exclaim that the exception disproves the rule! It is unkind to the patient with the disease for his physician to regard him of low estate, and it is undiplomatic to remark that the countries with much leprosy are those where underprivilege of the common man is the rule. Unfortunately, where leprosy goes untreated is in the rural areas of the economically distraught countries. No amount of exclamation could change the fact. The one person in 100,000 in the United States

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