The results of the serologic blood tests for syphilis that were secured from the first two million reports1 of selectees for army service in 1940 to 1942 provided an excellent cross section of the prevalence of syphilis in the United States and changed many of our preconceived ideas concerning the epidemiology of the disease in this country.
Syphilis has been called an urban disease, a disease of large cities and seaports, but this is not true in the United States. The urban rate in these men was 4.6 per cent while the rural rate was 4.4 per cent.
Furthermore, syphilis is not a disease of seaports, nor does it have an unduly high prevalence, in large cities. The largest cities, such as New York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, all have rates of less than 2.5 per cent, whereas the rate for the nation as a whole was 4.5
SMILLIE WG. SYPHILIS IN THE UNITED STATES PRIMARILY A NEGRO PROBLEM. JAMA. 1943;122(6):365–366. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840230017005
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