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February 23, 1901


Author Affiliations

Chief Medical Inspector, Chicago Health Department. CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(8):497-500. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.52470080019001f

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In conversation with an eminent dermatologist recently, he made the remark that he had never seen chickenpox in an adult. I thought it a remarkable statement in so experienced a man, inasmuch as I had seen a large number of such cases while connected with the Department of Health of Chicago. I subsequently noticed a statement published in the Cleveland Journal of Medicine, by Dr. William Thomas Corlett, to the effect that he had never seen a case of chickenpox in an individual after puberty. A little later The Journal of the American Medical Association editorially said that chickenpox in an adult was so rare an occurrence that "it might be a safe rule in some respects to call every case in an adult smallpox that one feels tempted to diagnose as varicella."

An adult with a supposed case of chickenpox either has or has not chickenpox. If he has

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