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March 1938


Author Affiliations

From the Neurological Division of the Beth Israel Hospital and the Neuropathological Laboratory of the Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Diseases.

Am J Dis Child. 1938;55(3):496-510. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1938.01980090044005

Complications in the central nervous system following vaccination and the acute febrile diseases of childhood have become clinically prominent during the past twenty years. The most common neural complication of the acute exanthemas, infectious parotitis, antirabic and other vaccinations and influenza has been disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Least common have been the nervous disorders following German measles. Prior to the severe and widespread epidemic of rubella in 1935, the medical literature contained but two clinical reports (Bénard1 and Brock2) describing this complication. Because of the relatively infrequent appearance of neural complications following rubella, this exanthem was considered relatively benign. While some observers were aware of no severe complications, believing the course to be mild and favorable, others referred to any complication as a coincidence.

During the outbreak of the disease in 1935 there was a sudden and marked increase in the incidence of encephalomyelitis complicating rubella. From scattered areas eight