Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 1(1954)3(186)

J. GALEA, The Epidemic of Poliomyelitis in Malta during 1950-51: Notes and Observations.Extract from “The Journal of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene” London, June 1953.

The writer’s aim in collecting these observations was “to encourage local talent so that we might be able to contribute our share in the fight for victory over this dreaded disease.” These words, coming as they do from the Chief Government Medical Officer of these Islands, show the extent to which epidemics of this nature engage the attention of persons responsible for the health of the nation. Indeed, ever since the first major epidemic of poliomyelitis in 1942-43, one can trace the trend of this disease in the annual reports of the Medical and Health Department. At the same time the public has become fully aware of the consequences of this crippling disease. Hence the importance of studying such epidemics from a socio-medical viewpoint.

The present study contains various statistical data and concludes with the hopeful news that Sir Russell Brain, President of the Royal College of Physicians, stated in London that “it has become possible to cultivate a virus which may enable us to develop a vaccine which will give protection against the disease.”

Editorial comments on Dr. Galea’s survey of this outbreak appeared in The Medical Officer of the 18th July, 1953.

J.[oseph] C.[assar] P.[ullicino]