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October 1, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(14):1154-1155. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690140050017

Economic stress, accompanied by an unbalanced dietary, has affected some of the recently flooded areas of the lower Mississippi Valley. Pellagra, accordingly, has increased. In that area, in 1924, the reported cases of pellagra numbered 20,000 and the reported deaths, 1,020; in 1927, according to an estimate made by Goldberger and Sydenstricker, the number of cases of pellagra will be from 45,000 to 50,000 and the number of deaths, from 2,300 to 2,500.1 This forecast has impelled the United States Public Health Service to disseminate recent information2 on the nature and prevention of the disease.

In certain sections of the South, during hard times, the diet becomes restricted substantially to meal, salt pork and molasses. This ration, since it is low in the "pellagra-preventing dietary essential" vitamin P-P, will not forestall the development of the disease. When the food supply is poor in this vitamin, certain symptoms appear.