Registrars Will Please Preserve
ARIL 1, 1919
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
ALBANY, N. Y.
HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., Commissioner
VOL. IV ISSUED FORTNIGHTLY V. S. No. 4
OTTO R. EICHEL, M. D., Director, Division of Vital Statistics
SO-CALLED "SLEEPING SICKNESS'"
Its Classification in Vital Statistics Tables
Registrars are hereby advised to classify deaths certified as due
to " sleeping sickness " under Title 6o, encephalitis, of the detailed
International List of Causes of Death. When this cause of death
is given jointly with influenza, the latter should be regarded as the
preferred cause; in other respects also, it is advisable to follow the
standard Index of Joint Causes of Death.
For the present, the disease should be regarded as of unknown
causation. Its relation to other diseases, especially to influenza and
poliomyelitis, has not been proved. It affects chiefly the central nervous
system, and has been named encephalitis letlargica. It was described
and named in 1917 by von Economo who observed, in all, 13 cases in
Vienna. The largest series of cases reported. 168 in all. occurred in
England in 1918; and what seems to have been a smaller series of cases
was observed in that year in France. Recently what seems to be the
same disease has appeared in the United States.
The Austrian, British, and French observers do not attribute cases
occurring in their respective countries to influenza or other well known
diseases, although the resemblance of the pathological lesions in the
nervous system to those occurring in poliomyelitis has led to a discussion of the points of resemblance and difference of the two diseases.
It is not even established that in Europe encephalitis lethargica showed
V. S. No. p. 41