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June 9, 1945


JAMA. 1945;128(6):442-443. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860230046014

Sabin and Ward1, in a study of the natural history of human poliomyelitis, published in 1941, demonstrated that the human alimentary tract, from the mouth and pharynx to the colon, may be a port of entry for the virus to the body and particularly to the central nervous system. Their work was soon confirmed. The virus has also been found in human stools,2 in sewage3 and in flies,4 These results, repeatedly verified by various laboratory investigators, have led to renewed studies of the transmission of the virus by flies from human stools or sewage to an uninfected person. Ward, Melnick and Horstmann5 have now supplied direct evidence that fecal material, sewage or contact with flies by the individual, his food or fomites may actually constitute a link in the chain of infection with poliomyelitis.

Evidence with regard to the transmission by food must include proof