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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 16, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(3):414. doi:10.1001/jama.290.3.414-a

An Indiana official has, according to newspaper reports, diagnosed the cause of the present epidemic of strikes as due to a bacillus. As far as its prevalence and apparent contagion goes, it would seem to be a rational conclusion that there is some sort of morbid virus or germ extant that produces the present outrageous condition of things. The extirpation of this particular germ, however, is a sociologic problem, not a medical one, except in so far as the mental condition of the strikers at the present time is a psychologic phenomenon that deserves some attention by the psychiatrist. There is no question, however, that if the present febrile movement continues there will be some complications calling for medical treatment. The enforced idleness of a large number of working people and their consequent financial embarrassment, will have much to do in depreciating their bodily welfare, and in causing impairment of natural immunity. Should the "epidemic" go further, the public at large will suffer. Great sociologic injury may easily result from extensive stagnation of manufacturing and other occupations, and the financial condition of the country may thus be seriously interfered with. These results are an interesting matter for study, both in their influence on present pathologic conditions of the laboring classes and on the people as a whole.