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May 24, 1924


JAMA. 1924;82(21):1704-1705. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650470044023

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Epidemic Encephalitis  Epidemic (lethargic) encephalitis has been recognized in this country only in the last five years. At first it was regarded as a curiosity, but the number of cases has increased so much that it now occupies an important place in the group of infectious diseases. In the first three weeks of April, 649 cases were notified, and the total so far this year has reached 1,409, compared with 454 during the whole of 1922, 1,470, in 1921, 890 in 1920, and 541 in 1919. The following figures for the present year show a serious increase, which is giving concern to the health authorities:It has been noticed that the disease does not select particularly those living in poverty and insanitary surroundings. On the contrary, if it has any choice it visits the homes of the thrifty and the professional classes. The mortality rate is about 50 per cent.,

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