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January 1950

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Fifteenth Annual Review of Significant Publications

Author Affiliations


From the Jefferson Medical College and Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1950;85(1):156-197. doi:10.1001/archinte.1950.00230070178009

FOR THE fifth successive year statistics indicate an uninterrupted decline in the mortality rate for infectious diseases. Records of a large life insurance company1 establish an "all time low" mortality rate for 1948 and a "record-breaking low" for the first six months of 1949. There has been a drop of 22 per cent in the death rate from tuberculosis in two years. Scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough, syphilis, enteritis, pneumonia and influenza have the lowest death rates ever recorded. That for pneumonia is 40 per cent below the average for the ten year period of 1938 through 1947. Much of the decline in mortality from the diseases mentioned is due to the successful specific therapy or prophylaxis now available. On the other hand, the number of cases of poliomyelitis was exceeded only once before, in 1916. This increase may be due partly to better diagnosis and to better reporting