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Editorials |

Accurate Case Counts: The Problem and a Proposal

Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(1):132. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-105-1-132_1
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The reporting of identical cases in two otherwise different papers can confuse some readers as to case identity, notably when the cases are not cross-referenced in both articles. A letter to the editor (1) in this issue illustrates this problem. A problem far more important than just confusion arises when accurate total case counts are vital to epidemiologic judgments, as in the assessment of the risk of adverse drug effects, and to judgments on drug efficacy.

In even a casual search of case reports in older journals, one finds that patients were often identified with extraordinary precision. First names or


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