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April 8, 1905


Author Affiliations

Bacteriologist to the City Water Department. WILMINGTON, DEL.

JAMA. 1905;XLIV(14):1082-1088. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500410006001b

The eradication of a given infectious disease requires an intimate knowledge of first, the causation or underlying etiologic factors, and second, the best methods of preventing these factors from operating.

While very desirable, it is not absolutely necessary for purposes of prevention to know the specific cause of the infectious disease to be combated; it is sufficient to know the ways and means by which the specific cause, whatever it be, becomes operative. Thus smallpox may be prevented without the specific cause being known, and the prevention of yellow fever is an accomplished fact, although the specific cause still remains hidden from the searching eye of the bacteriologist. These general considerations prepare us for the statement that although the specific cause of typhoid fever—the bacillus of Eberth and Gaffky—has seldom, if ever, been found in polluted water; such water, nevertheless, has been the cause of typhoid epidemics, and the prevention

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