Medicine: The Decline of Syphilis

The U.S. Public Health Service had "watched skeptically, hopefully, scarcely daring to believe the evidence." But there was no doubt about it; syphilis was declining. In the last two years the number of new cases reported dropped 20%, even though there were 30% more clinical examinations.

Last week Dr. Leonard Scheele, Surgeon General of the PHS, reported on the ten-year-old VD-control program. Said he: "We're no longer fighting a defensive battle . . . We have been able to take the offensive." Deaths from syphilis dropped from about 21,000 in 1938 to 13,000 in 1948, the number of civilian cases reported from...

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