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November 14, 1896


JAMA. 1896;XXVII(20):1063-1065. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430980035004

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In our zeal to prevent the infection of the individual and to protect against epidemic outbreaks in the community we are blind to a pathologic process going on around us of the most stupendous proportion and with the absolute certainty of frightful consequences— the poisoning of the entire race—the slow, sure infiltration of a subtle venom, as discernible by symptoms as the solitary case of a toxic dose of opium or arsenic, or the local scourge of a visitation of cholera or yellow-fever.

When the nation was young, the tiny stream of foreign immigration, like a little clouded rivulet adding its scarcely appreciable substance to the broad extent of crystal waters, was swallowed and however muddy its source its particles were soon lost in the multitude of the clean and strong by which it was overwhelmed. To-day a thousand sewers are pouring turbulent streams of fetid, pestiferous slime into the

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