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January 18, 1941

Current Comment

JAMA. 1941;116(3):234-235. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820030056017

A DEFICIENCY DISEASE IN FOXES  A disease common on fox ranches called "Chastek paralysis" is a well defined syndrome characterized by a preliminary period of anorexia followed by the rapid development of weakness, ataxia and spastic paralysis. The outbreaks of this disease have for the most part occurred between November and May and invariably are on fox ranches where fish or fish products are fed as 10 per cent or more of the diet. This disease attains importance for man in its close clinical and pathologic resemblance to Wernicke's polioencephalitis. This type of polioencephalitis has been shown by Alexander to be due to a deficiency of vitamin B1 in the presence of an adequate supply of other vitamins. The observations of Green and Evans1 on Chastek paralysis make it clear that the disease in foxes is brought about by their eating fish and that the consumption of fish