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October 5, 1918


JAMA. 1918;71(14):1138. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600400038012

As set forth elsewhere in this issue,1 widespread outbreaks of acute respiratory infection have occurred at irregular intervals for many centuries. The general clinical manifestations and the complications have been always practically the same. Owing to conditions that are far from being adequately understood, such infection now and againspreads over the world with great rapidity and in a manner that was altogether mysterious and disconcerting until we learned that it never spreads faster than human travel. It seems as if in the course of evolutionary processes there suddenly is liberated a form of infectious agent against which large numbers of people offer little or no resistance and which is transmitted readily from person to person under the most diverse hygienic and geographic circumstances. That the peculiarly subtile nature of these outbreaks was recognized long before the bacteriologic era is indicated by the introduction of the name influenza, which means,

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