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A Contribution to the History of Leprosy in Australia (Classic Reprint)

A Contribution to the History of Leprosy in Australia (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A Contribution to the History of Leprosy in Australia

In January, 1894, the sub-committee of the National Leprosy Fund, which had been appointed to conduct such farther investigations into the nature and causes of leprosy as might seem desirable to them, announced their readiness to receive reports on several subjects; among others, on "the reputed recent increase of leprosy on the Australian continent, its extent and possible causes." Thereupon I determined to arrange such notes on this topic as I had made during a few preceding years, and to expand them as much as opportunity should allow.

The subject thus set connoted two questions: - First, had leprosy recently increased on the Australian continent? And secondly, if so, to what might that increase be due? Evidently the former question could be answered only after collecting all the recognised cases of which either some record existed, or of which some account could still be given by those who had witnessed them. Perusal of a list so compiled would show whether the reply should be in the affirmative; and if in the affirmative, whether the second question could be answered by reference to some simple circumstance (such as the importation of lepers), or whether a more recondite cause must be sought out.

An object of the following paper, therefore, is to record the cases which have been recognised in Australia from the beginning. The attempt is made now for the first time.

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