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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 13, 2011


JAMA. 2011;306(2):217. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.908

The ready response of the public to appeals for better health conditions is a most surprising and gratifying result of the rapidly altering state of public opinion on health matters. The people are ready for any reforms. Recent examples of this fact will readily occur to those who have been watching public health progress. One of these is the recent remarkable crystallization of public opinion on the common drinking-cup; another is the equally rapid progress of the campaign against insect carriers of disease and especially of flies. These pests have been causing annoyance and disgust to all cleanly-minded people, as well as distributing diseases, for centuries. If anyone had predicted ten years ago that great American newspapers and civic organizations would inaugurate a definite campaign against flies, he would have been regarded as hopelessly visionary. Yet the American Civic Association has established a “Fly-Fighting Committee,” has reprinted an article on “The House-Fly as a Carrier of Disease” from the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science , has distributed instructions on how to conduct an anti-fly campaign, and has sent out a special bulletin entitled “Kill Flies and Save Lives.” It is surely a promising indication when so learned a body as the American Academy of Political and Social Science considers an article on the house-fly worthy of a place in its periodical.