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July 28, 1917


Author Affiliations

Assistant Surgeon, United States Public Health Service WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1917;LXIX(4):267-274. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590310019005

The diseases which are perhaps most detrimental to the efficiency of military bodies are those of the intestinal tract. To the ubiquitous dysentery and typhoid fever are added in Europe the paratyphoid fevers and cholera. It is particularly to combat these diseases that boiling of the drinking water, chlorination of the water supply, disinfection of the dejecta, and separation of the infected with or without symptoms, together with earlier and accurate bacteriologic diagnosis, have been so intensively and thoroughly practiced in the military bodies now fighting. With the manifold exigencies of war, however, these precautions are not sufficient, and the individual fighting unit must be given detailed attention. The failure of these general sanitary measures during this war involving trench fighting, together with previous military experience with antityphoid vaccination, was the incentive for attempts at immunization of the individual. Hence, in March, 1914, France adopted Labbé's legislation for compulsory vaccination