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October 11, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(15):1268. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820410046016

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Recognition of the manner in which contagion is transmitted has been an essential, often the decisive, step in gaining control over epidemic and pestilence. The control over epidemic intestinal diseases, which is recognized as a conspicuous success of the bacteriologic era, followed naturally on recognition of these diseases as water and food borne and of corollary measures directed toward sanitation of water, milk and food supplies. Recognition of the insect vectors of yellow fever, plague and typhus fevers has afforded a basis for control measures directed against these diseases. Much of the present confusion and dread regarding poliomyelitis is attributable to the fact that the means of communication for that disease have not been established.

The respiratory diseases offer striking contrast to water borne, milk borne and insect borne diseases with regard to the possibility of their control. Public health measures such as quarantine directed against respiratory diseases have been

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