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September 19, 1959


Author Affiliations

Atlanta, Ga.

Chief, Epidemiology Branch, Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

JAMA. 1959;171(3):271-273. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010210023007

We are now entering the fifth year of the great national program for the conquest of paralytic poliomyelitis through the use of Salk vaccine. Much has been accomplished; much remains to be done.

At the Communicable Disease Center of the Public Health Service we have had the privilege of charting the progress of this campaign. Through constant reports from state health departments, laboratories, hospitals, and all agencies both official and private, a continuing surveillance of poliomyelitis in the nation has been maintained.

The epidemiologic facts speak for themselves. What has been achieved is evident; what needs to be done is compelling. The essential conclusion is that the program, as far as it has gone, is working well, but we have failed to use the present preventive measures effectively. Completion of the immunization program should lead to the essential elimination of paralytic poliomyelitis from the United States.

Figure 1 shows the

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