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June 17, 1944


Author Affiliations


From the Los Angeles County Health Department. This paper is submitted with the knowledge and consent of the Publications Committee of the Los Angeles County General Hospital. The material in it was collected and prepared in consultation with Dr. Paul Hamilton, chief of staff of the Acute Communicable Disease Unit of the General Hospital. The table of gradations of muscle spasm was contributed by Dr. Wayne McFarland. Miss Dorothy Graves, physical therapist at the General Hospital, furnished a large part of the statistical and case history data. Dr. Roy Gilbert, assistant Los Angeles County health officer, furnished the data regarding multiple familial cases of poliomyelitis in Los Angeles County in former years.

JAMA. 1944;125(7):488-490. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850250028008

In 1943, 721 patients with poliomyelitis were admitted to the Contagious Disease Unit of the Los Angeles County General Hospital. Of these, 9.29 per cent (67 persons) came from families with multiple cases. There were 22 families with 2 cases each, 5 families with 3 cases and 2 families with 4 cases.

There were 38 secondary cases. Thirty-one (81.6 per cent) occurred within eight days or less of the initial case, and it is unlikely that any considerable number of the secondary cases were infected through exposure to the primary cases. Six (15.8 per cent) occurred between nine and fourteen days after the initial case and may or may not have been infected through exposure to the primary cases. One case (2.6 per cent) occurred after five weeks, which is a much longer period than is usually given as the upper limit for incubation.

In the previous five year period

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