Poliomyelitis surveillance report number 1, May 1, 1955
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Poliomyelitis surveillance report number 1, May 1, 1955

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    Not for publication. For official use only.

    The recent occurrence of cases of poliomyelitis among children who had recently been inoculated with poliomyelitis vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories dramatically illustrated the need for establishing a nationwide system of collecting accurate and detailed reports on all cases °f poliomyelitis in the country. It was imperative to determine as rapidly as possible the nature of the apparent association of cases with Cutter Vaccine.

    Similar associations with vaccines from other manufacturers might occur at any time. As increasing numbers of children become immunized and as the normal poliomyelitis season approaches, it may be expected by mere coincidence that many children will contract poliomyelitis at some time following vaccination. In order to interpret such occurrences properly, it is neces- s&ry that accurate current information be available on a national basis in far more detail and more rapidly than is now available through established morbidity reporting channels.

    Accordingly, on April 28, one day following the discovery of the association of cases of poliomyelitis with Cutter Vaccine and its withdrawal from use, the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service directed the establishment of the Poliomyelitis Surveillance Unit within the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta. The two documents establishing this Unit are attached: l) The news release of April 28, 1955, and 2) the telegram

    to all Regional Medical Directors of the Public Health Service from Otis L. Anderson, Chief, Bureau of State Services of the Public Health Service.

    The Surveillance Program will serve broad functions. The accurate and detailed information collected and disseminated currently to Federal and State Health Officials and participating laboratories should serve to guide the most effective application of the limited supplies of vaccine available in 1955. The wise use of these supplies should accelerate the decline of poliomyelitis throughout the country, leading, it may be hoped, to rapid disappearance of the disease.

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