Infantile paralysis is slowly being eradicated from Massachusetts, according to figures compiled by the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission. In the 1928 epidemic the Commission, assisted by the State Department of Health, treated some 25 percent of the 500 cases in the pre-paralytic stage, compared with but 10 percent of 1200 cases so treated in 1927.
If the case is diagnosed in the first three days of the disease, before paralysis has set in, a cure is possible, according to Dr. W. Lloyd Aycock, in charge of the Commission's work. A serum has been produced, which, if administered in this early stage, has had considerable effect in checking the affliction, especially in the severe cases. One of the purposes of the Commission is to educate doctors to judge the case before the paralysis sets in, which was heretofore thought impossible.
In the summer epidemics the Commission goes throughout the state giving serum to the sufferers, while in the off season research is conducted at the Harvard Medical School. It is a very difficult disease to work with, as it is transmitted by invisible bacteria, so small that they pass through the finest filters. Monkeys are the only animals that take the disease, so they and convalescing patients afford the only possible sources of a serum cure.