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August 15, 1896


JAMA. 1896;XXVII(7):383-384. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430850043005

I'll hide my master from the flies as deep as these poor pickaxes can dig.—Cymbelene.

At the August season when the summer dog-days are with us, the mighty insect Diptera, of the noble family muscidce, particularly the musca domestica or the musca harpya, commonly mentioned in the vernacular as the house fly, makes his presence seen and felt. From the earliest times, the ancestors of this species were known to be most malicious, and at the same time as a plague most unacountable.

When the Lord threatened Pharaoh that he would send "swarms of flies upon him," Pharaoh was probably not aware that the mere presence of the fly, insured the planting of plenty of pathogenic microbes, and it is probable that the corruption of the land by reason of the swarm of flies (Psalms cxv. 21), had a great deal to do with the death of the first-born