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Massachusetts Medical Society




In their history of tuberculosis, The White Plague, Rene and Jean Dubos note that the first national movement to control tuberculosis in the United States came from the Medico-Legal Society of the City of New York, a group of lawyers, scientists, and physicians devoted to solving social problems. At a meeting in 1900 to organize an American Congress on Tuberculosis, the group drafted legislation designed to prevent the spread of the disease. Even though almost every state eventually passed tuberculosis-control laws, it was not the passage of legislation, or even the development of effective treatment, that led to the decline of tuberculosis in the United States, but improvement in living conditions1. The decline in the disease was so impressive that by the 1980s predictions were made that it would soon be eradicated. With the increasing incidence of tuberculosis and the rise of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, however, that optimism has disappeared.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, George J. Annas, Control of Tuberculosis -- The Law and the Public's Health, Volume 328, Page 585 Copyright ©(1993) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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