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June 1919


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1919;23(6):723-736. doi:10.1001/archinte.1919.00090230069004

INTRODUCTION  Most textbooks define meningitis (in this paper the term "meningitis" will be used to denote only meningococcus meningitis) as "an infectious disease, occurring sporadically and in epidemics . . ." The name "cerebrospinal fever" is now commonly found in the literature. But since "epidemic cerebrospinal fever" and "epidemic meningitis" are terms so firmly embedded in the professional as well as the lay mind, the epidemic character of this disease is emphasized out of all proportion to its sporadic manifestations.Epidemics are concomitants of crowding. Both Osler1 and Rosenau2 emphasize crowding in association with meningitis. "The concentration of individuals, as of troops in large barracks, is a special factor; recruits and young soldiers are specially liable."1 "Cerebrospinal fever is a disease of infants and soldiers. . . . Crowding and close personal contact favor the spread of the infection. . . . The disease prevails especially in the winter and