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March 31, 1951


Author Affiliations

New Orleans

From the Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University School of Medicine and the Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans.

JAMA. 1951;145(13):962-965. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920310018004

Early reports1 of epidemics of diarrhea in the new-born described a symptom complex of considerable severity with high attack rates and high case fatality rates. It was suggested that the syndrome, while subject to the variation of any disease entity, was probably caused by a single etiological agent and had a typical mode of spread.

With more direct attention to diarrhea in the new-born period, additional epidemics have been reported with varying characteristics, some relatively mild and some severe.2 Known enteric pathogens have occasionally been demonstrated, and case histories in epidemics have often resembled those of cases with unknown origin.3 Filtrable viruses have been demonstrated by various technics4 in some epidemics, but the significance of these agents has not been sufficiently evaluated.

Even when no etiological agent has been discovered, intensive search has, on occasion, implicated a presumed mode of spread, usually faulty formula preparation or

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