Volume 7, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The Constitution of the World Health Organization, drafted in 1946, specifically provided that the World Health Assembly should “… have the authority to adopt regulations concerning … sanitary and quarantine requirements and other procedures designed to prevent the international spread of disease ….” At that time, even though there was a long tradition of agreements and conventions on international traffic, dating as far back as 1851, the situation was confused and unsatisfactory. A number of conventions were simultaneously in force and some of their provisions were obsolete and not based on current medical knowledge and caused serious disturbance to traffic and trade. An Expert Committee on International Epidemiology and Quarantine was established in 1948 and was instructed “… to revise the existing International Sanitary Conventions … into a single body of regulations covering the needs of all travellers….” The Committee concerned itself only with six of the most serious communicable diseases (plague, cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, louse-borne typhus, and relapsing fever) and prepared the International Sanitary Regulations which were adopted in 1951.


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