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Poliomyelitis is an acute infectious disease that is caused by a filtrable virus with sufficiently distinct properties to permit its identification with as much certainty as is possible for any of the well known bacteria. A virus can be identified by its size, by its host range (i. e. the species of animals which it can or cannot infect), by its tissue affinities and therefore the type of disease it engenders, by the changes it produces in infected cells and by its immunologic properties. With regard to the etiologic agent of poliomyelitis it is known that it is one of the smallest filtrable viruses, its size having been estimated at approximately ten millionths of a millimeter (10 millimicrons). Thus it can pass through the finest filters and membranes, which retain not only the bacteria but most other viruses as well. It can be sedimented only by prolonged centrifugation on powerful
SABIN AB. ETIOLOGY OF POLIOMYELITIS. JAMA. 1941;117(4):267–269. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.72820300015006
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