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April 2, 1938


JAMA. 1938;110(14):1069-1075. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790140001001

The syndrome produced by the meningococcus organism when it attacks the meninges remains unconquered. One is impressed by its low incidence and high mortality as contrasted with those of other contagious diseases, such as measles and varicella, which have a high incidence and a low mortality. Persons who have not had measles or chickenpox will contract the disease because they have not acquired immunity by having had it. In the case of meningococcic meningitis, only infrequently does one of the many persons exposed to the disease contract it, although about one half of the persons exposed during epidemics become carriers of the organism.

One cannot sit complacently and boast about the tremendous advances in curative and preventive medicine, because the mortality of meningococcic meningitis in the first year of life is still about 50 per cent. In the accompanying table the mortality in Newark, N. J., for the past nineteen

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