Page:The Scientific Monthly vol. 3.djvu/208

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��THE EPIDEMIC OF ' INFANTILE i is visible under the higher powers of PARALYSIS the microscope. The virus exists not

The epidemic of infantile paralysis ^^^^ ^^ ^^® ^®"*^*^ "®^^«^« o^ga"«' ^^* centering in Brooklyn has not at- ' ^^'^ °^ ^^® ™"^^"' membranes of the tracted more attention than it deserves, : °^' «» *^^°*^ ^^^ intestines. Less f re- although the 2,000 cases and 400 ^"®°*^>' '^ ^^^^^« ^° <>t^®^ o^'^^^^ a°<i ^* deaths which had occurred up to July 18 ^^^ ^^^^ ^^"^^ ^^ *^® ^^°°^- "^^^ virus are not large in comparison with the ' ^*° ^^ detected by inoculation tests waste of child life to which we sub- , "P^^ monkeys, though with so much mit. About 200,000 infants and about ^^^^^^^Ity that ordinary bacteriological an equal number of children and young ^^'*'^ ^*° °^* ^® employed for the dis- people die needlesslv each year in this ^'^^'^^ ^* **^® ^^^^^^^- ^^ ^^^^ °^a^°®^ country. That the deaths are due to , ^* ^* however, been determined that

ignorance and neglect is evident from , ^^^^^^^ P^^^^°« "^^^ ^"^^ *^^ «P'«*^ the fact that three times as many ^^^ infection.

children die in Fall River and Patter- 1 ^he virus of infantile paralysis leaves son as in some other cities. It is ' ^he infected patient through the fecre- quite possible that through the vig- ' ^^^^^ ^^ *^® "^^®» mouth and intestines orous hygienic and sanitary measures *°d enters the body as a rule, if not now being undertaken in New York exclusively, by way of the mucous mem- City more lives will be saved than are branes of the nose and throat. Since lost through the epidemic. ' epidemics of infantile paralysis always

The disease is startling through it?" , arrive during a period of warm weather, comparative newness, its method of , they have been thought to be connected spreading, the futility of any treat- with insect life. This has, however, ment, its symptoms, the high death been disproved, except in so far as do- rate and the permanent after effects mestic flies and other insects may serve which may ensue. The best available as mechanical carriers. The paralytic account of the nature of the disease, liseases of domestic animals and pets the manner of its conveyance and the 1 are quite different from infantile pa- means of prevention, is contained in j ralysis and these animals must be ac- an address given before the New York , quitted of being hosts. Academy of Medicine on June 13, by Infantile paralysis is one of the dis- Br. Simon Plexner, director of the eases in which insusceptibility is con- laboratories of the Rockefeller Insti- 1 f erred by a previous attack and protec- tute for Medical Research, whose re- tion has been conferred on monkeys by searches have contributed largely to inoculation with small amounts of the what we know concerning infantile par- virus and by serum treatment. Promis- alysis, or poliomyelitis, and spinal ing results are said to have been ob- meningitis. Dr. Flexner tells us, in tained in France on men but the quan- his address, which is printed in the tity of human immune serum is very lim- issue of Science for July 21, that in- ited and no animal except the monkey fantile paralysis is an infectious dis- seems capable of yielding the immune ease caused by an invasion of the 1 rerum, and the monkey is not a prac- spinal cord and brain by a minute fil- , tfeal animal from which to obtain sup- terable microorganism, which has now pHea. The only drug which has shown been secured in artificial cultures and any us-eful degree of activity is hexa-

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