[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 10, 1975

Whatever Happened to the "Old-Time" Infections

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1975;231(10):1026. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240220010002

To the Editor.—  This comment is on "Whatever Happened to the 'Old-Time' Infections" by Louis Weinstein (229:196, 1974). I have great admiration for Dr. Weinstein and always read his articles with great interest.He comments on the fact that there may be periodic changes in epidemicity, but does not use this as an explanation for several of the things he has mentioned. There was a nationwide epidemic of diphtheria in about 1875; thereafter, until the extremely potent vaccine was developed, there was periodic increase in incidence about every five years. This periodicity of incidence also applied to measles, which had about a three-year cycle. This may account for the increase he described in Massachusetts, rather than the explanation that children born in the last two years had not been immunized—measles is a disease of early school age and those under 2 years of age are usually only infected from siblings