Tuberculosis and War


    IN a recent paper on this subject (Paris méd.,1, 52; 1940), Dr. E. Rist, of Paris, remarks that war favours the extension and aggravation of tuberculosis not only in belligerent nations but also in neutral countries, owing to the economic disturbance caused by the blockade, the scarcity of indispensable articles due to the destruction of merchant shipping and the hindrances of all kinds offered to the transport of goods by land and sea. During the War of 1914-18, the mortality curve from tuberculosis, which had fallen from 1900 to 1914, rose sharply from 1915 to 1918, and did not decline again until after the conclusion of peace. Among the numerous causes of an increase of endemic tuberculosis in war-time, one of the most serious is the rapid and wholesale evacuation of urban and rural populations to districts which are not sufficiently prepared to receive them, with the result that numerous healthy persons become infected with tuberculosis by those suffering from an active form of the disease.

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    Tuberculosis and War. Nature 145, 506 (1940).

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