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April 1, 1974

Medical News

JAMA. 1974;228(1):9-19. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230260007002

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Various regimens produce spotty results against Reye syndrome  The continuing reports of the rare and often fatal pediatric illness, Reye syndrome, have caused near panic among parents in some cities. Pediatricians' offices have been unusually crowded and some emergency rooms have been badly overloaded. Actually, the number of cases remains quite small, and alert clinicians have been able to save many of the young patients.The March 2 issue of Mortality and Morbidity put the total of cases reported since last Dec 15 at 146, with 34% mortality nationwide.The lay press, though, has been caught in a classic bind: the media must alert parents about symptoms while reassuring the public about the condition's rarity. Furthermore, newspaper reports must attempt to explain that no definitive treatment is known—while at the same time reporting impressive "winning streaks" with certain kinds of therapy. To complicate matters further, some hospitals have been