MENINGOCOCCAL INFECTIONS are relatively common at military recruit camps. In World War I, for example, carrier rates of 60% or more were commonplace throughout the US camps and the number of clinical cases of meningococcal disease were appropriately great. During World War II an outbreak of meningococcal disease began among military bases and spread to the US civilian population. Before the epidemic had run its course during the years 1943 and 1944, some 34,000 persons had become ill and 4,700 of them had died as a result of meningococcal disease.
At the beginning of World War II, a number of workers throughout the world1-5 had reported the use of sulfonamides for treatment of meningococcal meningitis and had, in addition, indicated that sulfonamides might be used to eliminate the meningococcal carrier state in otherwise healthy individuals, thereby limiting the spread of infection to susceptible persons. In 1943 Awe, Babione,
Millar JW, Siess EE, Feldman HA, Silverman C, Frank P. In Vivo and In Vitro Resistance to Sulfadiazine in Strains of Neisseria Meningitidis. JAMA. 1963;186(2):139-141. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63710020008016