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This exceedingly important book presents for the first time a comprehensive study of the evidence regarding the significance of two factors in the development of tuberculosis—familial susceptibility and exposure to tubercle bacilli. It also includes new data for siblings, parents, consorts, and children of the tuberculous. This evidence is used as the basis for the extension of tuberculosis control programs to include the group in the population susceptible to attack and death from the disease. Ruth Puffer also points out the need for research to discover the factors in the host which determine susceptibility or resistance to the disease, gives a logical explanation for the decline of tuberculosis death rates, explains the convergence of death rates by sex, presents valuable new evidence on the controversial question of tuberculosis in consorts, and summarizes epidemiological studies of tuberculosis.
Since the emphasis in recent years has been on exposure to tubercle bacilli, the findings of Puffer, showing the importance of familial susceptibility as a factor in the development of tuberculosis, indicate the immediate need for the extension of tuberculosis control programs to include the examination and observation of all parents, siblings, and children of persons with tuberculosis, regardless of the present household. The study is of vital significance to all public health officers and nurses, medical social workers, physicians, medical research workers, health educators, geneticists, epidemiologists, and tuberculosis specialists.