September 1965


Author Affiliations

Professor and Chairman Department of Pediatrics University of Colorado School of Medicine Denver, Colo

Am J Dis Child. 1965;110(3):344-A. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090030359037

To the Editor: Following the importation of a suspected case of smallpox from Ghana to Washington, DC, early in May 1965, extensive and detailed descriptions of the public health management of the many contacts of the suspected case appeared on the front pages of such diverse publications as the AMA News, Modern Medicine, Medical Tribune, Antibiotic News, and others. Almost all 50 state health officers in their monthly bulletins to the physicians in their state described the importation in detail, utilizing the official publication of the weekly reports from the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta. It is fair to say that by now virtually every physician in the United States will have heard that there was an importation of smallpox, confirmed by the CDC laboratory. The fact is that the lady in question suffered from chickenpox and that a clinical suspicion was followed by an unfortunate laboratory error in diagnosis.

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