The prophylactic and therapeutic value of pertussis vaccine was demonstrated recently when an epidemic of pertussis broke out among the female inmates of the Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives. Children are 7 years of age before they are admitted to the school. The majority of the inmates are of a grade of intelligence which enables them to care for their bodily needs, but in a disease such as whooping cough, in which paroxysms occur suddenly and frequently, and are accompanied by vomiting, these mental defectives are at a disadvantage in caring for themselves.
The epidemic gained access to the institution through the agency of a little girl, who, as we discovered later, came from a territory in which the disease was prevalent at the time she was admitted to this institution. The usual procedure of placing a new admission in quarantine for two weeks was observed in this instance.