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July 5, 1947

Current Comment

JAMA. 1947;134(10):877-878. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880270037011

SOME UNUSUAL CASES OF SMALLPOX  The transmission of smallpox usually occurs following direct or indirect contact with a preexisting case. However, cases may develop from unusual sources of infection. Recent experiments by British scientists1 offer an explanation of some of the unusual methods of transmission of smallpox. In an outbreak in the spring of 1946 in England Downie and Dumbell procured from patients crusts and exudates which they kept under ordinary atmospheric conditions at room temperature. They had also for their experiments crusts from a case in the Middlesex outbreak of 1944 and from 2 cases which occurred in 1945. At intervals a number of crusts were removed from the container, then thoroughly broken up, and sterile buffered distilled water was added. This suspension was left to extract at room temperature for two hours and then overnight in the refrigerator. Next day the suspension was centrifuged, and the supernatant

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