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October 6, 1917


Author Affiliations

Associate in Clinical Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University; Physician-in-Charge, the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium; Medical Director, Babies' Milk Fund Association BALTIMORE

JAMA. 1917;LXIX(14):1156-1160. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590410034008

Hygiene has been defined as that department of knowledge which concerns the preservation of health. It not only includes the various branches of the so-called medical sciences, but lays tribute on any knowledge or practice which may be serviceable in combating disease and in promoting health.

It is the fundamental duty of all governments to provide for the safety of their people, even at the sacrifice of individual right, liberty and property. This function is exercised under the common law as a police power, and implies the right of a government to secure for its subjects healthful living conditions. Under the government of the United States, the authority for this sanitary provision is vested in the separate states, rather than in the federal government. The latter exercises its right of control only in exceptional cases, namely, in interstate traffic, in cases of threatened general epidemics, and in maintaining advisory authority

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