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September 6, 1941

Current Comment

JAMA. 1941;117(10):864-865. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820360046016

DIPHTHERIA PREVENTION IN NEW YORK STATE  A press release by the New York State Department of Health1 indicates that fifty-two of sixty-nine upstate communities reported 35 per cent or more of children under 5 years of age immunized against diphtheria as of June 1, 1941. The percentages were based on population estimates from births and deaths as of June 1, 1940. Godfrey2 showed that immunization of 35 per cent or more of children under 5 years in a given community would make that community reasonably safe from an outbreak of the disease, although unimmunized children would, of course, remain susceptible, and there might be sporadic occurrences of diphtheria. The same study by Godfrey showed also that immunization of much larger percentages of children of school age did not protect the community against an outbreak of diphtheria. In the light of these studies, it is of particular interest to