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September 14, 1940

MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC AMONG NAVAJO INDIANS

JAMA. 1940;115(11):923-924. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.72810370002008a
Abstract

Although many1 claim that meningococcic meningitis usually strikes only one member of a family, this did not hold true during a recent epidemic on the Navajo Reservation. Of twenty-eight patients seen at the Chin Lee General Hospital, in twenty-four instances there was a close family relationship to another patient or patients while in only four instances were the patients the only members of the family to contract meningococcic meningitis.

Since we saw multiple cases in the family early in the epidemic, whenever a Navajo contracted meningitis we urged that the younger members of the family be brought to the hospital for fourteen days' observation and prophylactic treatment; nineteen persons from families in which meningococcic meningitis had recently occurred were admitted to the Chin Lee General Hospital and 174 to the Northern Navajo Hospital, Shiprock, N. M., for this reason. Two thirds of these persons were under 10 years of

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