January 30, 1960


Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology Queen's University Belfast, Ireland.

JAMA. 1960;172(5):478. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020050070026

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To the Editor.—  In a preliminary report on the surveillance of poliomyelitis from 1955 to 1959, Dr. Alex Langmuir and his colleagues indicated that since 1958 a new epidemiologic pattern of poliomyelitis has been emerging in the United States. They suggest that a basic change in the ecology of poliovirus may have occurred. The main features of this new pattern are described as follows:1) Epidemics and outbreaks have been confined largely to specific focal areas composed of crowded population groups of lower socio-economic status [in which use ol vaccine is likely to have been low]. 2) The age incidence has reverted, at least partially, to the infantile type. 3) Paralytic cases have occurred largely in unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons.We have previously suggested that, despite the fact that Salk-vaccinated persons can become infected with poliovirus, adequate immunization with Salk vaccine might affect virus spread in the community. We

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