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Progress in Pediatrics
June 1938

EPIDEMIC DIARRHEA OF THE NEWBORN: IV. CLINICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK
From the Bureau of Preventable Diseases, New York City Department of Health, Dr. John L. Rice, Commissioner.

Am J Dis Child. 1938;55(6):1288-1307. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1938.01980120150015
Abstract

There is probably no group of diseases of infancy and childhood presenting greater difficulties in etiology and diagnosis than that generally referred to as the diarrheal disorders. The voluminous and contradictory literature on the problem serves to emphasize the highly unsatisfactory state of knowledge of the causation and differentiation of the various primary and secondary enteric disturbances. In addition, the multiplicity of potential pathogens inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract and the uncertainty of their isolation by present bacteriologic methods combine to make a most confusing situation. Even more complicated is the problem of the diarrheal disorders which occur during the newborn period of life.

Since 1934 we have had under investigation a series of outbreaks of highly fatal diarrhea arising among newborn babies in the nurseries of lying-in hospitals. Our early experiences with the disorder were summarized in a preliminary discussion1 which gave the essential features of the various outbreaks.

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