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June 13, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XL(24):1654-1655. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490240034007

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In a short time we shall witness the annual slaughter of the innocents. On the morning of July 5 there will be few communities that will not find recorded in the local paper an account of the sacrifice of some life to the celebration of the day before. The bursting cannon, the premature explosion, the burning building, the bulleted cartridge that was supposed to be a blank, will each claim its quota of victims, not to mention the lost eyes and fingers, the burns and injuries beyond number. Were this all, the record would be bad enough, but after the excitement is over, the glory of the day half forgotten, there will begin to appear scatteringly and, therefore, less prominently, accounts of the children who have succumbed after hours or days of suffering to the tetanus-infected blank cartridge wound. This annual tetanus epidemic is as certain as the Fourth itself,

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