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October 4, 1965

Yesterday's Triumphs: Today's Problems

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine and Surgery, Veterans Administration, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1965;194(1):33-37. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090140041011
Abstract

During the past 100 years, human society has made astonishing advancements in the knowledge of disease. These have usually come about through tedious research accompanied by persistence and optimism. A large increment of the information acquired has been put to beneficent use in endeavors to identify, treat, prevent, suppress, and eradicate many of the formidable microbial, viral, and parasitic enemies of mankind.

In the United States, the results have been amazingly successful. By Herculean efforts and constant vigilance, such fearsome diseases as yellow fever, diphtheria, typhoid fever, smallpox, foot-andmouth disease of cattle, tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis, and more recently poliomyelitis, are virtually extinct.

The purpose of this essay is to examine the anachronism that certain infectious diseases continue to threaten the lives of human beings despite knowledge concerning their diagnosis, prophylaxis, and treatment that research has provided.

Among these diseases are tuberculosis, rabies, and the venereal diseases, gonorrhea and

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