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December 19, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(25):2151-2154. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410250051001k

While all intelligent and unprejudiced thinkers who have had any experience in dealing with smallpox recognize the protective value of vaccination, the general tendency is to insist on quarantine as an additional safeguard against this disease. It is for us to consider:

  1. What does quarantine accomplish?

  2. Is it necessary?

Quarantine is an evidence of ignorance. As soon as the true cause of any disease is recognized attention is directed to its prevention in the first instance rather than to its suppression after the disease has appeared. For example, with tuberculosis we direct our attention to destroying the infectious agent rather than to quarantining the patient. Again, before the means of transmission of yellow fever was known the quarantine methods used in the attempt to control its spread were most rigid, but when the world came to know that only a mosquito could transfer yellow fever from an infected to a

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