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March 16, 1918


JAMA. 1918;70(11):781-783. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600110039015

There have been approximately 1,500 cases of meningitis since last summer among our troops assembled in the various Army encampments. This is a much higher rate of incidence than has existed in any civilian population of similar size in this country during this period. In Chicago during the whole year 1917 only 354 cases were reported, and this was an incidence three times as high as in 1916. Even if there were no European experience to guide us, therefore, we should have convincing evidence of the special prevalence of meningitis among the new recruits in military organizations.

Nearly all observers of the epidemiology of meningitis have laid great stress on the rôle of meningococcus carriers in spreading infection. The Journal has previously discussed various aspects of this question. Under the acid test of practical experience, new views about the significance of carriers and about the methods of practical procedure are