Authors
Patrick Zylberman
Ecole Des Hautes Études En Santé Publique
Abstract
The dreadful nature of the epidemic of 1870 explains why smallpox, not cholera, played a central role in the French public health regulations. And yet, France went it alone on the matter. The rules required isolation for the contagious sick and mandatory notification of the disease almost everywhere, nevertheless France relied only on persuasion. True, the public health law of 1902 provided the State with new weapons. But would such a mandatory decree be sufficient to awake popular opinion? There was no resistance to the law, like in England or Germany. However, the new regulations took several decades to be enforced, if only because of the poor state of the sanitary administration. Smallpox vaccination was eventually implemented when the authorities discovered that proximity and easier accessibility to services and facilities are of primary importance for patients
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