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History of Medicine |

History of the Specialty of Infectious Diseases in the United States

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Edward H. Kass, M.D., Ph.D.; Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Boston, MA 02115.

©1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(5):745-756. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-106-5-745
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Infectious diseases in the United States were for generations so integral to health and medicine that a special interest in the field, except for investigative purposes, could hardly be contemplated. With declining mortality and morbidity from infections, and the advent of major antimicrobial drugs, interest in infectious disease flagged in clinical and microbiological departments. Several factors have caused a new interest in infectious disease, including the appearance of newly recognized infectious disease syndromes; advances in microbiologic, immunologic, virologie, and epidemiologic understanding; increased societal interest; proliferation of effective therapeutic and preventive agents; and the general thrust toward specialization. This interest led to the formation of societies, subspecialty boards, and journals, and accounts for the prominence of infectious disease in clinical departments and in national thought. Similar developments are taking place at various rates in other countries, with renewed attention to the toll of infectious diseases in developing countries.





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