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a human disease whose occurrence and distribution result mainly from unfavorable socioeconomic conditions. Social diseases include tuberculosis, venereal diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction, rickets, certain occupational disorders, and vitamin deficiencies and other disorders resulting from improper diet.
The spread of social diseases is facilitated by conditions that give rise to class antagonism and the exploitation of workers. The elimination of exploitation and social inequality is a necessary precondition for the successful control of social diseases. At the same time, socioeconomic conditions exert a direct or indirect effect on the occurrence and development of many other human diseases. However, the role of the biological peculiarities of the causative agent or of the human body should not be underestimated, even in cases of social diseases. For this reason, the term “social disease” has become increasingly limited in its usage beginning in the 1960’s and 1970’s.