We all recognise that some diseases are more “catching” than others. Every mother knows that measles is very catching and most people set aside a group of common complaints, measles, mumps, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, diphtheria—perhaps roughly in that order—as catching complaints. Then again, still keeping ourselves within the circle of ideas of educated non-medical people, one has such complaints as common colds or influenza which one thinks of as running through a house indeed but does not put quite into the measles category, as one feels that factors determine the spread other than mere proximity to a sick person. Lastly, one has some illnesses, gonorrhoea would be a fair example, which everybody recognises to be spread wholly by contagion, almost always by a particular method of contagion, but does not regard as catching at all in the sense that measles and whooping-cough are catching. When we enquire into the reasons of these opinions they will be found, I think, to be these.
(Received December 02 1930)