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February 20, 1937


JAMA. 1937;108(8):633-636. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780080027010

Since the beginning of this century a benign disease characterized by headache and meningeal symptoms has been reported in Europe. Local epidemics of such a disease in France in the years 1910 and 1913 were thought to be abortive forms of poliomyelitis, and in 1922 to 1924 similar epidemics in Europe were ascribed to encephalitis. Wallgren1 reviewed these reports in 1925 and suggested that the disease, which frequently occurred in epidemics, might be a separate clinical entity and he called it "acute aseptic meningitis." He also suggested that a virus might be the etiologic agent. The criteria he considered necessary for such a diagnosis were (1) an acute onset of meningeal symptoms; (2) changes in the cerebrospinal fluid characteristic of meningeal irritation, with a slight or moderate increase in the number of cells, especially of lymphocytes; (3) sterility of the fluid, both on direct examination and in appropriate culture

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