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June 4, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the Medical Section of the Employees Hospital.

JAMA. 1938;110(23):1894-1896. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790230010005

It has been difficult to ascertain the normal fatality rate in epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis before the institution of specific therapy. It is felt that after serum treatment came into use the estimation of fatality rates entered into the controversial field.

Flexner1 gave the fatality rate in the period from 1904 to 1905 and from 1911 to 1913 as 73 per cent in New York, 69 per cent in Boston, and 76 per cent in Hartford, and listed other cities in this country and Europe with similar or even higher fatality rates. Earlier estimations attempted in the preserum period are as follows:

In addition to the statement of von Ziemssen, quoted by Flexner,1 that the mortality rate ranged from 35 to 70 per cent, with an average of 40 per cent, Eichhorst, who wrote the chapter on epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis published in Appleton's Modern Clinical Medicine in 1905, stated