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March 20, 1972

Medical News

JAMA. 1972;219(12):1553-1560. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190380003003

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Health officials get set for any new VEE outbreak  US health officials intend to be ready if Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis resumes its northward march.The virus disease—abbreviated in headlines last year to VEE—invaded this country for the first time in late June. In the approximate five months before it apparently was contained, 88 human cases (none fatal) were confirmed through virus isolation or serology.In the same period, about 3,400 cases in horses, including perhaps 1,200 to 1,400 equine deaths, were reported. Virus isolations or confirmations by serum neutralization were made in 74 herds in 26 Texan counties.Now, to avoid any repetition of last summer's crisis (the 1971 epidemic was declared to be a national emergency), a surveillance program is taking shape.Further, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) already is urging "that states outside high-risk areas determine now whether to begin a statewide vaccination program to prevent a