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January 5, 1895


JAMA. 1895;XXIV(1):27-28. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430010045007

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After all the space given to the subject in the public press, concerning the " ravages of the loathsome pestilence," it appears that there were only about ten thousand cases of smallpox, with not to exceed three thousand deaths, in the United States during 1894. Compared with the constant mortality from consumption, pneumonia, diphtheria and other contagious or infectious diseases—more or less preventable—it is apparent that smallpox has lost its epidemiologic significance for this country almost as fully as has Asiatic cholera or yellow fever. There may from time to time occur an outbreak of either of these latter diseases; but there is reason to believe that the terrors which cholera caused during the middle third of the century, and yellow fever for more than a hundred years, will never again be repeated.

The prevalence of smallpox in 1894 has been pithily called " the lesson of neglected vaccination." But while this

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