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Calif Med. 1952 July; 77(1): 19–21.
PMCID: PMC1521652

INCIDENCE OF POLIOMYELITIS—The Effect of Tonsillectomy and Other Operations on the Nose and Throat


A statistical survey was made of all the cases of poliomyelitis occurring in all of Los Angeles County during the three years of 1949, 1950 and 1951 in an attempt to determine the effect of operations on the nose and throat on the incidence of poliomyelitis. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were the only operations noted with any degree of frequency. Yet, in the total of 3,601 cases of poliomyelitis that occurred in this three-year period there were only 20 (0.55 per cent) in which the patient had had recent tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

The incidence of this disease in patients who had had tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy was compared with the “expected” incidence as determined from the incidence in other patients, in the same age group. There was no significant difference between actual and expected incidence even during the summer months when most cases of poliomyelitis occurred. The same was true with regard to recently tonsillectomized patients in the epidemic months of July through October.

In a separate survey of 675 patients with poliomyelitis, it was noted that only 30 per cent ever had had tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. Inasmuch as it is estimated that one of every three persons in the general young population nowadays has had tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, this figure is no more or less than could be expected.

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