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July 1957

A Preventable Outbreak of Poliomyelitis

Author Affiliations

U. S. Army

Preventive Medicine Officer (Major Peczenik) and Assistant Preventive Medicine Officer (Capt. Duttweiler), Office of the Chief Surgeon, Hq., U. S. Forces in Austria.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(1):108-112. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260070122014

Introduction  Poliomyelitis was not a serious problem during the 10-year existence of U. S. F. A. (United States Forces in Austria) as a small military theater in the heart of Europe. Incidence in both military and dependent populations was always sporadic, with the exception of an outbreak during the summer of 1951, when 20 cases were reported in children of the American community at Salzburg, Austria, the command's largest station. Previous incidence of the disease in the area of the outbreak described here was low, with an average of three cases recognized annually during the years 1950-1954. The majority of these cases occurred in school-age children, were mildly paralytic, and rarely left residuals. However, there also were a few cases in young military personnel.The primary purpose of this paper is not an orthodox epidemiological treatise on a very minor outbreak, but a frank discussion and analysis of possible mistakes