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January 10, 1931


JAMA. 1931;96(2):117-118. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720280035013

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Certain epidemiologic characteristics of acute anterior poliomyelitis are apparently well established, yet the nature of the virus remains unknown. Moreover, the reports of the prevalence of this disease indicate, at least in California, that it is continually spreading with the occurrence of outbreaks in fairly short intervals; namely, 1925, 1927 and 1930. The method of propagation, however, remains an enigma and offers a distinct challenge to public health authorities. One of the important phases of the disease which make it difficult to recognize and control is the number of abortive cases that must occur in any epidemic. The contagiousness is exceedingly low, the latent immunization of the general public exceedingly high, or the carrier produced by contact to cases of comparatively little moment in the spread of the disease.

According to the figures of the California State Department of Public Health, the outbreak in California in 1930 began to be

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