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September 4, 1954


JAMA. 1954;156(1):9-12. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950010011005

Anyone who has had experience with infections caused by the virus of poliomyelitis is aware of the many complexities encountered in delineating the clinical manifestations accurately. Difficulty in diagnosis, particularly differential diagnosis, is increased by pressure on the physician from a fearful public. Improved understanding of the disease in its many aspects will contribute to the peace of mind of all persons concerned, including the practicing physician.

The virus of poliomyelitis belongs to the group of infectious agents designated as obligate intracellular parasites. These agents require the environment of a living cell for growth and multiplication. Although the distribution of the agent may be widespread in the body of the host, the poliomyelitis virus does have a peculiar affinity for cells of the central nervous system, particularly those of the anterior horn of the spinal cord and its bulbar extensions. Careful study of the pathological picture produced by this viral

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