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December 1954


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology of The Medical College of Alabama.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1954;70(6):723-731. doi:10.1001/archderm.1954.01540240029004

MORE THAN 250 years ago, there first appeared a remarkably accurate book devoted entirely to occupational diseases.1 The author and "Father of Industrial Hygiene," Bernardino Ramazzini, displayed an uncanny insight into the detection of the personal hazards of the various occupational trades of his day. Hippocrates had previously written that the physician in his first interview with a patient should inquire into the chief complaint, what appeared to be the cause, how long had been the duration, and how the appetite had been affected. It was Ramazzini who, in 1700, first emphasized the importance of an additional question to be asked of the patient: "What is your occupation ?'' He spent many years gathering first-hand information by inspecting the workhouses and the tradesmen practicing their arts. He learned that a midwife might contract syphilis by attending an infected mother; that stasis ulcers often occurred in those

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