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April 9, 1938


Author Affiliations

Deputy Commissioner, Department of Health NEW YORK

JAMA. 1938;110(15):1155-1158. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790150001001

In July 1934 the attention of the department of health was called to some sort of epidemic among the newborn babies in one of the New York City hospitals. This information was given by the father of one of the babies who had died and was to the effect that many of the babies at the hospital were ill and many dying. We investigated this complaint and to our dismay found an epidemic of enteritis of a devastating nature in progress among the newborn babies. Before it had ended, seventy-two, or 18 per cent of the babies in the nursery, had been involved, of whom thirty-two died, a mortality of 45 per cent. Postmortem, pathologic and bacteriologic examinations gave no clue as to what we were dealing with.

Since the discovery of this outbreak of diarrhea among the newborn, although we have become quite familiar with the clinical syndrome, its

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