May 9, 1931


JAMA. 1931;96(19):1634-1636. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720450076018

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A Factor in the Spread of Cerebrospinal Meningitis  The recent outbreaks of cerebrospinal meningitis have called attention to an important discovery made during the war as to how overcrowding acts in the spread of the disease. A physician writing to the Times claimed that it was simply better ventilation that was found to check the spread of the disease, but Dr. M. H. Gordon, consulting bacteriologist to St. Bartholomew's Hospital and member of the scientific staff of the medical research council, has shown that this is a mistake. During the war a continuous weekly determination of the carrier rate was made in one of the London barracks from 1915 to 1919. During the summer months the general carrier rate of the troops was below 5 per cent and cerebrospinal meningitis was absent. In December, 1916, the carrier rate suddenly rose to 20 per cent and an outbreak began. Contacts of

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