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December 23, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(26):2288-2292. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800510010003

The behavior and control of tuberculosis, whether in the individual suffering from the disease or as a community problem, depend on the proper control and disposal of bacillus-laden sputum. Control the sputum and spread is prevented; neglect this measure and cases multiply.

Although the tubercle bacillus is the specific cause of tuberculosis, it must be recognized that other factors contribute to both the epidemiology and the pathogenesis of the disease. These contributing factors may be grouped under two headings—the constitutional and the environmental. Of these the environmental factors are legion and appear to play a more common part in disease development than the constitutional. Recognizing the variables which may influence the disease in certain racial, industrial and social groups, it can be stated that contact with a sputum positive case, with its opportunity for infection and reinfection by frequent and massive doses of tubercle bacilli, appears to be the most