Medicine: End of a War

Never before in history had a medical development been big, instantaneous news over a large part of the world. Such a momentous item as Fleming's penicillin moldered for years in musty libraries before laymen heard of it. Last week's report on the Salk vaccine was good for banner headlines everywhere, and was covered by the press as massively as the end of a major war—which it was. Ironically, poliomyelitis has always been a relatively uncommon disease with a comparatively low death rate.* Polio is actually less of a public-health problem than rheumatic fever and some forms of...

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