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Sanitation, Diet, Disease, etc. 325
Enquiry has been frequently made from intelligent native
gentlemen, as well as from patients, as to certain habits and
influences which might be concerned in the origin and propa-
gation of leprosy. No instance of the transmission of the
disease from an animal to man. was met with. Leprosy must
be considered exclusively a human disease, and it does not
attack domestic or other animals, as is the case with tubercular
disease.21 The effects of premature marriages and the con-
sumption of opium, alcohol, and other stimulants were also
enquired into, but with entirely negative results. And indeed,
though undoubtedly certain classes indulge to excess in opium,
tobacco, the various forms of Indian hemp, alcoholic prepara-
tions from sugar, "mhowa," and the toddy palm, etc., the
races of India must be regarded upon the whole as decidedly
temperate.
Leprosy and Antecedent Diseases.
The question of the effect of syphilis was also considered.
It seems that when syphilis first appeared it was thought by
many to be a new form of leprosy, a modified leprosy. The
reason for this belief was the fact that syphilis appeared in
Europe about the same time when leprosy began to die out.
The leading physicians of that time, however, strongly contest-
ed such views. The people were so convinced of the errone-
ousness of this theory that the lepers refused to admit syphilitic
patients into their hospitals, and the latter had to build special
hospitals for themselves.22 "And as leprosy became more
and more an unknown disease, partly speculation, partly the
observation of certain endemic syphilides, led some physicians
back to the ancient supposition."23
At the present time some authorities have propounded the
converse theory that leprosy is an effect of syphilis, a modified
(21) Cf. Journal of the Leprosy Investigation Committee, No. 2. February 1891,
page 130.
(22) R. Virchow: op. cit., pages 500 and 501.
(23) Ibidem.

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