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November 6, 1943

The Conquest of Epidemic Disease: A Chapter in the History of Ideas

JAMA. 1943;123(10):663-664. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840450065036

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author is professor of public health in Yale University. His objective has been to write a history of the ideas on which have been based the efforts to control epidemic diseases. "How did the leaders of science really visualize a given problem in a given century, what was their solution and what were the reasons which dictated that solution?" The course of epidemiologic progress is described in detail.

A hurried summary can give only a general outline of the scope of the book. Following detailed reviews of supernatural medicine, demonic and divine, practices of which are not yet limited to the past or to remote places, account is given of the directing influence of observation and experience on medical thinking in Greece, in accord with the Greek concept of a universe of natural law. Hippocrates observed that each disease "has a nature of its own, and none arises without

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