Proposals for modifying the National Poliomyelitis Surveillance Program
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Proposals for modifying the National Poliomyelitis Surveillance Program

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      The National Poliomyelitis Surveillance Program was announced on April 28, 1955 and inaugurated on May 1 with the PSU Report No. 1. For more than a year discussions had taken place within the Communicable Disease Center and with State Epidemiologists and others concerned over the desirability of developing such a program. The occurrence of more than the expected number of cases of poliomyelitis in some children vaccinated with some of the products of one manufacturer lead to an acceleration of these plans. The response from the State Health Departments and participating laboratories has been prompt and thorough, A two way flow of information through the PSU Reports has been established so that all technical persons needing the report have been kept currently informed as to the status of the changing and often misunderstood situation.

      Now the immediate epidemiologic emergency seems to have passed. It is time for a careful reappraisal of the objectives of the National Poliomyelitis Surveillance Program. Future procedures both for field epidemiology and for laboratory confirmation should be planned in relation to future needs and anticipated future problems. The experience of the two months dictates a number of changes. The routine aspects of the surveillance procedures should be cut back to a basic minimum. A unique opportunity for additional studies of the effectiveness of the vaccine is afforded by the current short supply and its restriction for a limited period of time to 1st and 2nd grade children. The amended minimum requirements promulgated by the National Institutes of Health for the production of poliomyelitis vaccine have been directed primarily toward increasing the safety of the product. These increases in safety testing should serve effectively to eliminate the possibility of future incidents. The fact that toward insuring safety of the vaccine have been taken further the poliomyelitis surveillance program should be revised and in order that the effiacy of the vaccine may be further evaluation.

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