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August 1974


Author Affiliations

The Hospital for Sick Children Great Ormond St London WC1

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(2):258-259. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110270132028

London.—The great American contribution to contemporary English life is Barnhart, Steinmetz, and Barnhart's A New English Dictionary (1973). Where else could you discover what a "minikini" is? "Overkill" is another useful word, its second meaning being given as "something that causes harm by exceeding the required safe limits."

Some paediatricians are wondering whether pertussis vaccination is not now an overkill situation. ("Situation" is a cliché here; the situation is getting out of hand.) Madsen noted in 1933 two deaths after whooping cough vaccination, but it was really the article by Byers and Moll, "Encephalopathies Following Prophylactic Pertussis Vaccine," in volume 1 of Pediatrics (1948) that sounded the alert. However, we were reassured by their statement that in Boston Children's Hospital twice as many encephalopathies were seen following attacks of whooping cough as following pertussis vaccination.

One of my first medical chores, 40 years ago, was to look after a

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