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Provisional Information on Selected Notifiable Diseases in the United States for
During the first 12 weeks of 1953 a total of 116,319 measles cases was reported in the United States. This is less than half the number (263,447) reported for the corresponding period of 1952. The New England and Middle Atlantic Divisions reported substantially fewer cases during this period in 1953 than in 1952. Two other geographic divisions, the South Atlantic and the East South Central, also reported decreases from the numbers reported last year. However, there were 3 divisions which reported increases-the West South Central, West North Central, and the Pacific. See chart below.
Dr. Roy F. Feemster, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, reports that an outbreak of typhoid fever occurred in a high school for girls during February 1953. Symptoms were not characteristic and the diagnosis was delayed by an outbreak of virus infection in the general population during that month. Several patients had no symptoms or had minor illnesses, and attended school until stool cultures were found positive. Of 10 cases reported, 9 were in members of the junior class. The other case was in a senior who may have become infected by
direct contact with members of the junior class. All juniors belonged to a club which met frequently at the homes of its members. The only party which all juniors with positive cultures attended was given on January 29. The incubation period from that date was 9 to 31 days. The mother of the girl at whose home the party was given was found to be discharging typhoid bacilli. She gave a history of having the disease in 1921. Strangely enough her adopted daughter was one of two who had negative stools and negative widals. Two other members had negative stools but slight and partial widals. Laboratory examination revealed that S. Typhosa, bacteriophage type A, was responsible for the outbreak. In addition, the investigation uncovered 2 cases of S. typhimurium in members of the junior class and 1 S. litchfield in a food handler in the school cafeteria.
rhea within 1 hour after ingestion of the article of food. In addition to the original report of illnesses in Idaho, other cases were said to have occurred in Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. Shipments of the product have been confined to certain West North Central and Mountain States. All outstanding stocks are being recalled.
Dr. Morris Greenberg, New York City Department of Health, reports 4 cases of thallium poisoning in men employed at a restaurant and bar in Queens. The suspected vehicle of infection was chicken soup prepared by one of the four affected, and eaten only by them. Preliminary investigation revealed that the symptoms were quite different from those of the usual types of food poisoning. Abdominal cramps and nausea began several hours after the suspected soup was eaten, but within the next few days all patients complained of weakness and tingling of the extremities, and became increasingly ill. At this point botulism or heavy metal poisoning was suspected. It was soon established that no food which might harbor Clostridium botulinum had been eaten. Samples of urine were examined for arsenic but none was present. Before chemical tests were complete, about 2 weeks after eating the contaminated meal, all four men began to lose their hair. This clearly indicated that the poisoning was due to thallium. Confirmation was provided by urine examination, thallium in large amounts having been found in two of the cases-the third is still pending. Thal
lium was found in organs and urine of the fourth, a fatal case. The origin of the ingested thallium has not yet been determined.
Mr. Bertram Gross, Hawaii Department of Health, reports that plague infection, was proven positive for P. pestis in 2 findings within the endemic area of the Hamakua District. One was a rat (R. alexandrinus) found dead on March 25. The other was from a mass inoculation of 4 fleas (X. cheopis) obtained from a rat (R. hawaiiensis) which was trapped on March 27. Both rats were from District 3A, Kapulena area.
Psittacosis and ornithosis
Dr. C. C. Croft, Ohio Department of Health, reports the isolation of psittacosis virus from a parrot which died in Delaware, Ohio. This was accomplished by mouse inoculations of spleen, and demonstration of elementry and inclusion bodies. The confirmation was made by the Communicable Disease Center virus laboratory. The parrot was brought into the State from Texas in early March. No associated human cases have been brought to the attention of the Ohio Health Department.
Dr. J. V. Irons, Texas Department of Health, reports an outbreak of 8 cases of ornithosis which occurred in a south Texas poultry plant. All cases were in persons who had been dressing turkeys.
Table 1. COMPARATIVE DATA FOR CASES OF SPECIFIED NOTIFIABLE DISEASES: UNITED STATES (Numbers after diseases are category numbers of the Sixth Revision of the International Lists, 1948)
Symbols.-1 dash [-]: no cases reported; asterisk [*]: disease stated not notifiable; parentheses, [ )
in total; 3 dashes [---]: data not available.
: data not included
Table 2. CASES OF SPECIFIED DISEASES WITH COMPARATIVE DATA: UNITED STATES,
(Numbers under diseases are category numbers of the Sixth Revision of the International Lists, 1948)