An acute illness, usually febrile, varying in early symptomatology,
but usually with compulsive buying and almost always
characteristic color fixations in the red-green spectrum.
Presumptive diagnosis may be made when the above are observed
alone or in conjunction with subclinical signs such as eating
large amounts of candy. If the patient is seen during the acute
stage, a marked tendency to sing will be observed. A
predisposition to buy trees will also be noted. Radical changes in
behavior in some cases may be observed in the direction of
volubility. Depression is rarely noted. Clinical cases exceed
inapparent infections at least several hundred fold.
reservoir of infection:
Department stores have been implicated as possible sources. Man is
the only known reservoir.
Unknown: presumably by contact with an infected person or with
articles associated with the season, such as conifers and tinsel.
Susceptibility is general. No artificial immunization available.
Naturally acquired immunity is of short duration, usually less
than one year. Repeat infections are the rule.
Western world's distribution, isolated cases and eastern
hemisphere, annual pandemic. In northern hemisphere, annual
epidemic occurs in winter; in southern hemisphere, in summer.
Public Health Regulations
Section 2553. There are no restrictions on cases or contacts.
General Underlined: Whenever practicable, avoid crowding in shops
and stores. General resistance should be conserved.
Control of the
infected individual, contacts and environments:
Report to local health authority:
APHA suggests that official report is not ordinarily justified,
Isolation: None. Children should not
attend school during acute or convalescent stages.
Concurrence disinfection: None;
Terminal disinfection: Thorough
cleaning of dwelling and proper disposal of all colorful waste and
Quarantine: Of unproved value.
Immunization: Not effective.
Scrooge-type narratives may be tried.
Investigation of contacts and source
of infection: Unprofitable.
Epidemic measures: Effective measures
for the control of epidemics are not known. Isolation precautions
may be helpful.
practical laboratory test known. Blood-alcohol determination may
occasionally be helpful.
Contributed by Suzanne Dandoy, M.D.