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Prevention of Diphtheria by Immunization


ABOUT 60,000 cases of diphtheria, chiefly among children less than fifteen years of age, are notified annually in England and Wales, with some 3,000 deaths. Yet it has been shown, particularly in certain cities in Canada and the United States, that by artificial treatment or immunization the disease may be practically banished. The Minister of Health has therefore issued an official memorandum urging that artificial immunization should be undertaken by county councils and sanitary authorities (Memo. 170/Med. H.M. Stationery Office. 1d. net). It is suggested that the immunization should be undertaken as early in the child's life as is practicable and should form an integral part of the work of child welfare centres. The Memorandum gives technical details of the procedure and of the various forms of diphtheria prophylactic used, and of the need for Schick testing after treatment to ascertain whether this has been successful.

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Prevention of Diphtheria by Immunization. Nature 145, 345 (1940).

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