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April 24, 1948


Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.

From the Department of Epidemiology and Virus Laboratory, School of Public Health, University of Michigan.

JAMA. 1948;136(17):1088-1093. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890340014005

The best evidence of the transmission of the virus of poliomyelitis at the present time supports a person to person transfer. In spite of the logic of this thesis. based essentially on the well known fact that virus is present in the human oropharynx and intestinal tract for varying periods, one must not forget that the evidence was arrived at through processes of elimination rather than by scientifically proved experiments. Consequently, it is difficult, if not impossible, in determining the transmission of this disease. to rule out extrahuman factors completely, especially since epidemiologic observations have emphasized for years that outbreaks of poliomyelitis are correlated with seasonal influences, such as rainfall, temperature and prevalence of insects and animals.

In reviewing the literature on this subject one is impressed by the vast number of incriminations of various extrahuman factors, based at best on epidemiologic impressions gained through observations of limited accuracy, and