Analyses from a Tropical Epidemic of Poliomyelitis Which Occurred in Florida and Cuba in 1946

Until quite recently the opinion has been widely held that poliomyelitis was essentially a disease of temperate climates, that it was relatively uncommon in the tropics, and in particular, that epidemics in tropical regions were rare. This impression has been borne out by reports from many tropical areas, such as those listed by McKinley in 1935 (1); by reports from the Health Section of the League of Nations during the 1930s (2); and many others. Simmons el al (3) stated that: In British Malaya, poliomyelitis is rare; in Burma, poliomyelitis is so rare that it was never listed in their records. Comments from a number of other tropical or subtropical countries have referred to the local endemicity of the disease and to the fact that, the patients have been largely confined to infantile age groups.

But within recent years there has been reason to question the rarity of the disease in the tropics, as well as the absence of epidemics there.

Author Notes

From the Section of Preventive Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Dr. Corria served as a Visiting Fellow in the Section of Preventive Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, from October 1947 to May 1948.

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