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Article
September 26, 1959

CHALLENGE TO THE PRIVATE PHYSICIAN IN THE EPIDEMIOLOGY OF SYPHILIS

Author Affiliations

Atlanta, Ga.

Chief, Venereal Disease Branch, Communicable Disease Center, Bureau of State Services, Public Health Service (Dr. Brown); State Health Commissioner, Georgia State Health Department (Dr. Sellers); and former professor of clinical medicine, New York University College of Medicine, and former director of Venereal Disease Services, Bellevue Hospital, New York City (Dr. Thomas).

JAMA. 1959;171(4):389-393. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010220013004

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Abstract

Reported cases of infectious syphilis declined between the peak years of 1947 and 1954, but since 1954 the number has remained practically unchanged each year. Public health officials understand well the responsibility of the general practitioner to protect the confidence of the physician-patient relationship, as well as his reluctance to suggest that his private patient be interviewed for contacts by a third person, but such personnel have been trained to keep all information in strict confidence and to bring to the investigation the same high professional standards as apply to diagnosis and treatment. If the trend of infectious syphilis is to turn down again, physicians must report all cases to the health department and arrange to have patients interviewed for information about sexual contacts. Examples of effective cooperation along these lines are cited.

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