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July 1958

Clinical Study of Four Hundred Twenty-Five Idaho Poliomyelitis Vaccine Recipients in 1955

Author Affiliations

Boise, Idaho
Practicing orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Shaw); Senior Assistant Surgeon with the United States Public Health Service at the time of study (Dr. Sunada); Director of Nurses with the Idaho State Board of Health (Hiss Hopkey).

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1958;96(1):58-63. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1958.02060060060010

The explosive outbreak of poliomyelitis in Idaho among recipients of poliomyelitis (Salk) vaccine and their contacts in April, 1955, has been well documented by Peterson et al.1 and by Langmuir and associates.2 Epidemiological and laboratory evidence strongly indicates that the episode was triggered by faulty vaccine. The presence of viable poliomyelitis viruses in the vaccine which was used in Idaho has been reported.1,3

The purpose of this paper is to report on a further study of vaccine recipients. A unique situation existed in Idaho following the mass vaccine program in April, 1955. It was known that approximately 32,000 children were vaccinated between April 19 and April 27, when the vaccination program was discontinued. Only two lots of poliomyelitis vaccine from one manufacturer were utilized for the inoculations. By June 1, 1955, a total of 22 cases of poliomyelitis, which on epidemiological and laboratory evidence pointed to the