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January 13, 1940

Current Comment

JAMA. 1940;114(2):142. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810020046013

POLIOMYELITIS VIRUS IN SEWAGE  The repeated isolation of the virus of poliomyelitis from human feces1 together with the recently reported isolation from urban sewage2 seems to challenge generally accepted theories of the epidemiology of this disease. During a recent poliomyelitis epidemic in Charleston, S. C., numerous samples of municipal sewage were collected by Paul and his colleagues2 from various sites throughout the city, particular attention being paid to one pumping station. Here the sewage came from parts of the city in which most of the cases of poliomyelitis had occurred. Eight liter samples of this sewage were allowed to stand in a tall glass bottle for twenty-four hours, with ice packed about the base of the bottle most of the time. At the end of two hours and twenty-four hours 200 cc. samples of the resulting sediment were drawn off from each bottle and about 10 per

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