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John Richardson

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 28 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:716

General practitioner whose records on coxsackie infection won him worldwide fame

The international reputation that John Richardson acquired in the field of myalgic encephalitis (ME) research sprang from the records that he kept for 40 years of enteroviral infections, mostly coxsackie virus. He realised that enteroviral infections were endemic among his practice population on the south bank of the Tyne, spreading from one family to another and from one generation to the next. The public health authorities seemed to be unaware of it and facilities for identification were rarely available locally. The late Dr Eleanor Bell of Glasgow, who had conducted her own researches into the prevalence of enteroviral infections in southwest Scotland, was generous in filling the gap.

The clinical features of these infections varied from Bornholm disease—a common short illness with chest pain—to audible pericarditis, serious myocarditis, and valvulitis with dysfunction. Other features were muscle pain, jitter and weakness, sleep disturbance, hypersensitivity to sound and light, and mild confusion. …

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