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July 15, 1939

WESTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALOMYELITIS IN A LABORATORY WORKER

Author Affiliations

PEARL RIVER, N. Y.

From the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Harvard Medical School (Fothergill), the Department of Bacteriology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (Holden, work done at Columbia University supported by the Matheson Commission), and the Lederle Laboratories, Inc. (Wyckoff).

JAMA. 1939;113(3):206-207. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800280018005
Abstract

For a number of years, work was carried on with the viruses of equine encephalomyelitis on the assumption that these diseases were not communicable to man. Last summer, however, at least forty human cases of encephalitis appeared in New England during an epidemic of equine encephalomyelitis; virus was recovered from several of the patients and was shown to be that of Eastern encephalomyelitis by Fothergill, Dingle, Farber and Connerly1 and by Webster and Wright.2 Howitt3 also has reported from California a fatal human case of Western encephalomyelitis and has shown that the blood of several individuals there with a previous history of encephalitis had neutralizing antibodies against Western virus. Reports have reached us of several cases of encephalitis among farmers during last year's equine epidemic; it is not improbable that some of these were due to the Western virus.

We report here the circumstances surrounding the death

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