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January 9, 1909


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1909;LII(2):111-117. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.25420280025002e

The part played by the sanitarian in the control of contagious diseases is a most difficult one. On the one hand, the public resents any infringement on its personal liberty, and many physicians object, on scientific or other grounds, to whatever restrictive measures are enforced. On the other hand, reliance is placed by both the public and the profession on the precautions adopted by the health authorities, whether sufficient or insufficient, in consequence of which a false sense of security is often imparted.

Of no disease is this truer than of diphtheria. When the sanitary officials have disinfected the premises and removed the placard after recovery from this disease, all danger of infection is believed to be ended. The feeling of safety is the same whether this be done on the attending physician's statement that all clinical evidence of diphtheria has disappeared or only on bacteriologic evidence that the bacilli