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Preface

Communicable Diseases, Table of Contents

PREFACE

The subject matter of this volume, which, for the most part, comprises the more important communicable diseases that concerned the Army and particularly the Medical Department during the World War, is arranged so as to consider, first, a statistical analysis and then the usual aspects of each of the diseases (diagnosis, treatment, etc.). In so far as the statistical analysis is concerned, a dichotomous table for each disease, or group of diseases comprising a chapter, forms a basis for subsidiary tables where these have been thought desirable. The basic tables show, for purposes of analysis, strength, and admissions, deaths, and noneffectiveness, not only in absolute numbers but also in rates per 1,000 strength. In addition, the incidence of the diseases considered is given geographically and by race. Where it is desirable, additional tables show urban and rural distribution; local prevalence, as in a large command or at a particular station; comparative incidence of certain diseases in the United States Army and in foreign armies.

As explained in Part Two of Volume XV of this history, the number of admissions does not represent the total case incidence. This is due to the fact that, in finally compiling all data on the sick and wounded cards in the Surgeon General's Office, it did not prove practical to record among the admissions all diseases coexisting at time of admission, or diseases occurring as complications while a case was on sick report. Instead, coexisting and complicating diseases were tabulated separately. Since the basic tables of the chapters of this volume, of necessity, comprise primary admissions only, they must be viewed in the light of the above explanation. In conjunction with them, however, additional tables show the number of cases recorded, among enlisted men in the United States and Europe, as concurrent diseases, complications and sequelę, thus approximating the total number of cases.

Every effort was made in the Surgeon General's Office, in compiling vital statistics, to charge to original cases the places and times of occurrence, all discharges for disability, time lost, and deaths. This was done to facilitate computing case fatality, percentage of cases discharged for disability, and the amount of time lost for each character of case. Thus is explained attributing to such a disease as measles, for example, deaths which were in fact due to complicating bronchopneumonia.

Chapter XXII, concerning decisions as to the line of duty of disabilities, originally was intended for another volume of this history. Though it does not in any sense consider a disease, or a group of diseases, solely from the professional viewpoint, nevertheless it concerns diseases principally and thus more appropriately forms a part of this volume.

aFor the purpose of the History of the Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, the period of war activities extends from April 6, 1917, to December 31, 1919. In the professional volumes, however, in which are recorded the medical and surgical aspects of the conflict as applied to the actual care of the sick and wounded, this period is extended, in some instances, to the time of the completion of the history of the given service. In this way only can the results be followed to their logical conclusion.