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A Day of Diseases


During the Red River Valley’s hot and humid days of mid-August 1944, the newspaper in Fargo reported on a health scare.  A 17 year old boy had just died of polio, infantile paralysis, in a Fargo hospital. He had been hospitalized for less than a week. 


His condition, as described on the Fargo Forum’s front page, was conveyed by the attending physician, who said the boy appeared to be improving right until he died. Next to that story was another report about five cases of polio-myelitis reported to Fargo health officials the previous month.


City health officer Dr. M.E. Watson is quoted as saying “except for a possible case or two, there seems to be little danger of further outbreak." Dr. Watson also said only one of the five cases developed paralysis. 


Dr. Watson also reported that in rural Cass County there were six reported cases of encephalitis reported by August 1, but none within the city. He said a further outbreak of the disease was also considered unlikely.


Other communicable diseases in Fargo during the previous month included three cases of scarlet fever and one each of chicken pox, and measles. The total was 21 cases, compared to 18 cases of communicable disease, including nine of scarlet fever, that had been reported in June. 


On the same date, the paper reported from war front, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that Lt. General George Patton would be leading the American third army.


The Fargo Forum also announced the succession of Norman D. Black, Jr. as the new publisher of the paper. He shouldered the position created by his recently deceased father. Black junior was the grandson of Fargo Forum founder Norman B. Black.


Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark



Fargo Forum newspaper Aug 15, 1944

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