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With Special Reference to
The Prevention of Infectious
George M. Sternberg, M.D., LL.D.
Surgeon-General U. S. Army (Retired)
Ex-President of the American Medical Association, and of the American Public
G. P. Putnam's Sons
IN this volume the writer has attempted to state the main facts, so far as they have been established, with reference to infection and immunity, with the practical object in view of indicating the measures necessary for the prevention of infectious diseases. As the work is intended for non-medical readers, I have avoided technical terms as far as practicable, and when it has been necessary to use these have endeavoured to explain them. I have thought it best not to enter upon a discussion of the theories of immunity, or to attempt to give an account of the results of recent investigations with reference to the "antitoxins," "agglutinins," "precipitins," "bacteriolysins," etc. This line of investigation has, during the past few years, been so prolific in surprising results, and so many new technical terms have become necessary for the designation of the newly discovered bodies of this class and for the understanding of Ehrlich's "side-chain theory," which attempts to explain their mode of action, that this subject does not, at present, seem suitable for popular treatment. In my opinion, a knowledge of the well established facts in this field of investigation should constitute an essential part of a liberal education; and the diffusion of such knowledge cannot fail to promote the sanitary interests of the people.
The general statement may be made that all infectious diseases are preventable diseases, and at the present time it is possible to indicate the necessary measures of prevention for nearly all of these diseases. That they continue to prevail, and to claim hundreds of thousands of victims annually, is largely due to the fact that the public, generally, has not yet been educated upon these subjects.
It would seem that so important a matter should receive special attention in our high schools and colleges, and the writer hopes that this volume may, to some extent at least, serve as a text-book, suitable for the use of students, and as a manual of ready reference for those who are responsible for the sanitary welfare of the inmates of homes, schools, public institutions, etc. In Part Second the most important infectious diseases are considered in special chapters, and an attempt has been made to indicate the manner in which each one is propagated, its importance as a factor in our mortality statistics, and the best methods of restricting its extension. I have been strongly