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May 28, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(22):1399-1404. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92490670003001a

To infected water have been attributed the approximately 200,000 cases of typhoid fever which occur each year in this country. But it is the old story of the innocent blamed while the guilty escape.

It required almost three centuries of fighting, from Francisco Redi to Pasteur, before the theory of spontaneous generation could be overthrown. To-day, though the proof is certain that only from one case of typhoid is another begotten, we close our eyes to the truth, and go on acting as though water were the source of all typhoid infection.

To stamp out typhoid fever, in the absence of any specific treatment, requires (1) the recognition of all cases, and (2) the destruction of all typhoid bacilli as they leave the patient. The process need not even be so complete; most may be substituted for all. Though the water supply contain as much sewage as Chicago River, or

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