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Article
December 16, 1922

SMALLPOX: A TEST OF CIVILIZATION

JAMA. 1922;79(25):2086-2087. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640250040016

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Abstract

The marked increase in smallpox in recent years all over the civilized world is one of a group of facts that have disquieted many observers. Smallpox is a preventable disease, the first of the infectious diseases demonstrated to be preventable by inoculation. The evidence is so clear, so unmistakable and so convincing that it is a perpetual wonder that opposition can raise its head. But indifference to the protective value of vaccination and even definite hostility to its practice are today exceedingly common.

Neglect of vaccination, and its concomitant, the increase of smallpox, is but one of several striking manifestations of the breakdown of authority in the modern world. No longer do the mass of mankind receive submissively their opinions from the educated and informed. For better or worse they are attempting to form their own opinions and to act for themselves. The age of pure reason, however, has not

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