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June 23, 1951


Author Affiliations

Boston; U. S. N.

From the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 695 Huntington Ave., Boston.

JAMA. 1951;146(8):710-712. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670080018005

In the latter half of October 1947 an explosive outbreak of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea affected 139 of 193 boys in a New England boarding school. None of the usual intestinal pathogens was identified. Evidence is presented that this kind of outbreak is no isolated event, and that the pattern of spread as determined from daily and four-hourly case incidence is more characteristic of a communicable disease transmitted by contact than of one caused by the ingestion of food or beverage.

St. Mark's boarding school is located in a rural area 25 miles from Boston and provides under one roof for the housing, feeding and instruction of 190 to 200 boys aged 12 to 18. The student body is subdivided into six forms (classes), which share common dining room, library, recreational and chapel facilities. The curriculum and daily routine are those of most college preparatory schools. About half the employees

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