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Scientific Research and Preventive Medicine

Nature volume 102, pages 347348 (02 January 1919) | Download Citation



IT was stated recently in these columns that the toll of pain and death due to causes which are more or less preventable may be gauged in terms comparable with those demanded by the sufferings directly attributable to war. In order to reduce such sources of national loss it was considered important that in the evolution of schemes for the furtherance of research work in pure and applied science the question of the encouragement of research work in all branches of medical science should occupy a prominent place. The pandemic of influenza recently experienced may be taken as an illustration of the need for wide-embracing and well-organised research work in preventive medicine, and particularly in epidemiology. That such an epidemic would well deserve thorough and extensive investigation seems self-evident. According to the medical correspondent to the Times of December 18 and 19, 1918, there is good reason to estimate the world's death-roll from influenza and pneumonia at not fewer than 6,000,000 lives, at which rate he points out that this epidemic has been five times as deadly as the war during the same period of three months. Now a visitation on such a scale as this, in which many of the victims are in the prime of their lives, is comparable with the great plagues of the Middle Ages, and, coming at such a time as the present, is catastrophic from whatever point of view it may be regarded.

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