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July 8, 1974

Whatever Happened to the "Old-Time" Infections

JAMA. 1974;229(2):196-198. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230400058040

REMARKABLE changes in the incidence and clinical features of some of the "old-time" infections have occurred over the past 25 to 30 years. Some of these have obviously been attributable to advances in prevention and treatment. For others, however, there are currently no discernible reasons for the alterations in their natural history.

Although these changes have been taking place in all areas of our country, as well as in other developed parts of the world, this has not been the case in newly developing countries. The purpose of this article is to discuss this phenomenon, using data for incidence and personal experiences in Massachusetts since these reflect, in all probability, the situation in all areas of the United States.

Varicella, Measles, and Poliomyelitis  Varicella, measles, and poliomyelitis were very common in Massachusetts between 1945 and 1950. The total numbers of cases reported were 177, 761, 270, 675, and 10,181, respectively.