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May 18, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(20):2021-2022. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810200049013

The distinctive aspects presented by tuberculosis in primitive races have often been the subject of investigation and discussion. Recently Cummins,1 who is director of research of the Welsh National Memorial Association and experienced in the clinical features of tuberculosis among African Negroes, has pointed out again that the individual or race without previous contact with tuberculosis lacks resisting power. The power to resist is gained quickly, however, among civilized people, he says, because their ancestors have been subjected to a process of natural selection and only those have survived whose resistance is high as measured by their rapid elaboration of antibodies. The "primitive man" according to Cummins has not had the advantage of such selection and is therefore at a much lower point of the scale in ability to elaborate resistance. Nevertheless the biologic reaction to hypersensitivity is present and is rapidly produced following the entrance of the tubercle