Poliomyelitis, WHO Monograph Series No, 26

by Robert Debre and 16 other contributors, 408 pp., illustrated. Geneva: Palais des Nations: World Health Organization, distributed in the United States by International Documents Service, Columbia University Press, 2960 Broadway, New York 27, New York, 1955. Price $8.00, £2, Sw.fr. 24, cloth

Edwin H. Lennette
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This volume, prepared under the aegis of the World Health Organization by 17 authorities on poliomyelitis, represents an attempt to summarize concisely our present knowledge of this disease. The phases covered include epidemiology, clinical aspects, virology, immunology, and control.

The three chapters in the section on epidemiology were prepared by Dr. John R. Paul, Dr. James Gear and Drs. M. J. Freyche and J. Nielsen. Freyche and Nielsen discuss, on a world-wide basis, the incidence of poliomyelitis since 1920 and point out that the epidemicity of the disease appears constantly to be increasing and to be related with advances in hygiene and elevation of living standards. Paul and Gear give a terse but excellent summary of the epidemiology of poliomyelitis in general and present evidence to show that the most significant difference between the occurrence of poliomyelitis in well developed areas of the world and those less developed is not primarily a difference in incidence but in the distribution of cases in the various age groups.