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April 29, 1950


JAMA. 1950;142(17):1365-1366. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910350035014

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Leprosy (Hansen's disease) never has been an important problem in Continental United States for the practicing physician or for public health authorities. The total number of cases that have been reported never has exceeded about 500 at any one time. There are six leprosariums maintained by the United States and the territories with about 950 patients. About 390 patients are in the United States Marine Hospital, Carville, La. The physician generally has left the care of patients to a few specialists in municipal, state or federal institutions. Public health authorities generally have removed patients from their jurisdiction to the United States Marine Hospital. The health officer often has been forced to this decision against his better judgment because of the exaggerated fear, at times amounting almost to hysteria, of the local population. For both practitioner and health officer, these attitudes fortunately are in process of change.

During the last decade

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