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April 5, 1941

Plague on Us

JAMA. 1941;116(14):1606. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820140118033

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Here in an attractive form is a beautifully written account of man's battle against the plagues that have attacked him since the earliest times. For twenty centuries men have attempted scientifically to understand and forestall all pestilence. In our advance we have learned that such plagues are carried by insects and rodents. We have learned to know that they are caused by viruses and germs. We have developed vaccines and serums and preventive inoculations. These are the materials from which Geddes Smith has constructed this beautifully written book. He has had the advice of experts in the fields of bacteriology and epidemiology, and he tells the story of man's battle against the plagues in eight chapters, a prologue and an epilogue.

One of the most fascinating of the chapters, called "Detective Work," indicates how modern scientists determine the causes of epidemics. Here is the case of the Methodist ladies, the

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