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March 2, 1994

Optic and Peripheral Neuropathy in Cuba

JAMA. 1994;271(9):662-663. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510330040027

To the Editor.  —We recently returned from a trip to Cuba where, at the request of the Cuban government, we became involved in the investigation of the epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy that has affected thousands of individuals during the last 1½ years. We read with interest the article by Lincoff et al1 as well as the Medical News story by Mr Cotton2 in the July 28, 1993, issue. Lincoff et al were fortunate to identify 20 patients with a syndrome that is difficult to diagnose with certainty and difficult to differentiate from functional visual loss, as noted by Sadun and others in Cotton's article.Although our visit to Cuba was diplomatic in nature, we did see enough patients to become convinced that there is at least a group of closely related syndromes characterized by optic and peripheral neuropathy that has occurred in epidemic proportions in Cuba