BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6944.1650 (Published 18 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1650

More than two years have elapsed since the last reported case of paralytic poliomyelitis in the Western hemisphere, and the World Health Organisation believes that wild poliovirus should soon be eradicated from Europe (Lancet 1994;343:1331-7). Nevertheless, many thousands of children are still paralysed every year, and the disease will finally be conquered only if there are political and economic commitments by governments and professional leaders. We can all help by supporting the charities that have played a large part in the extended immunisation programme.

In five years 106 patients in a Veterans Administration Medical Center in California suffered a pneumothorax as a complication of their treatment, says a report in “Chest” (1994;105:1147-50). Transthoracic needle aspiration caused 35 episodes: thoracentesis 30, subclavian venepuncture 23, and positive pressure ventilation seven. In 11 cases there were multiple causes. Two patients died. In the same five years only 90 patients were admitted with spontaneous pneumothorax.

The popular conception of victims of whiplash injuries whose symptoms persist is that they are neurotic or are seeking compensation. A study in Switzerland has rejected these stereotypes (British Journal of Rheumatology 1994;33:442-8) - while …

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