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May 1, 1943


JAMA. 1943;122(1):40. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840180042015

Virus infected rodents may be the source of outbreaks of human poliomyelitis, according to a recent report by Jungeblut and Dalldorf1 of Columbia University. Five cases of poliomyelitis occurred during September and October 1942 within a sharply circumscribed half square mile area in White Plains, N. Y. The cases occurred in rapid sequence and were the only cases of poliomyelitis reported in White Plains for over a year. Two cases, however, had occurred in the same restricted area during the previous year. The 1942 epidemic involved 2 adults and 3 children, of whom 2 died of bulbar paralysis while 3 recovered with extensive peripheral paralysis. Microscopic study in the 2 fatal cases revealed severe and typical poliomyelitis lesions of the cord and medulla.

In the search for possible extrahuman sources of this epidemic a dead gray house mouse, which obviously had been dead for only a short time, was