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Books, Journals, New Media
December 14, 2005

History, Polio

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(22):2915. doi:10.1001/jama.294.22.2915

The creation of the polio vaccine remains a major triumph of 20th-century medicine, but its development did not come without heavy costs. In The Cutter Incident, Paul A. Offit, MD, not only explores the steps leading to the poliovirus vaccine disaster of the 1950s but also illustrates the legacy of public mistrust and rampant litigation that endures to this day. While giving the reader a “behind the scenes” look at the development of an effective polio vaccine, Offit puts a face on the tragedy through detailed descriptions and histories of the polio victims, providing the strong sense of humanity that this story deserves.

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