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Epidemiologic Considerations

A. D. Langmuir, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;175(10):840-843. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040100004002.
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FIVE AND ONE-HALF YEARS AGO, when the Salk vaccine first became available, some epidemiologists, including myself, were hopeful that poliomyelitis could rapidly be eradicated. Since then, its incidence has declined, largely because of the use of this vaccine. But, poliomyelitis seems far from being eradicated. The dreamed-of goal has not been achieved. In fact, many students of the problem question that eradication of poliomyelitis infection with inactivated vaccine is a scientifically tenable concept.

Soon, a basically new type of poliovirus immunization—the orally administered live virus vaccine— will enter the picture. Dr. Albert Sabin, one of the developers of oral vaccine, is now calling for eradication of poliomyelitis, arguing that the oral vaccine makes this scientifically possible. It is pertinent, therefore, at this symposium, to review the experience of the past 5 1/2 years, from both the practical and scientific points of view. It may be worthwhile to examine the reason


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