Friday, December 31, 2010

Outbreaks of bizarre, clinically similar illnesses from several areas of the world

Donald A. Henderson, M.D., and Alexis Shelokov, M.D., N Engl J Med 1959; 260:757-764 April 9, 1959:

DURING the past ten years an impressive number of outbreaks of bizarre, clinically similar illnesses have been reported from several areas of the world.

The cases have shared the features of a protean symptomatology, including fatigue, headache, alterations in emotional status, aching muscular pain, paresis and paresthesias.

Regarding the severity of the illnesses, few significant and consistent physical findings and abnormal laboratory determinations have been noted.

The courses of the patients have been unaccountably prolonged and debilitating and marked by frequent exacerbations.

Cases have been confined principally to young and middle-aged adults; females have been more frequently and severely afflicted. . . .

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