1799 - 1700United States of America

Many other acts throughout the 17th and 18th centuries addressed prevention of disease and the spread of contagions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the appearance of several epidemics of influenza, smallpox, scarlet fever, and yellow fever brought the investigation of disease to the forefront of medical interest. Notably, on June 22, 1797, a law passed in Massachusetts provided for the formation of health organizations in towns and gave these organizations the authority to abate nuisances which they considered dangerous to the public health. This law was subsequently copied and adopted by many other states. Shortly after, in 1799, a Board of Health with Paul Revere as President, known as the “Paul Revere Board of Health”, was established in Boston following a severe outbreak of yellow fever.



  • White, Benjamin. “Smallpox and Vaccination.” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal188, no. 15 (April 12, 1923): 523-30.
  • The Commonhealth: 75th Anniversary of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Boston: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 1944

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