Camp Devens had been somewhat forewarned of the impending epidemic of influenza through rumors of its existence in the naval district about Boston, so that on September 7 the admission from one company of fourteen men with ill-defined fever aroused immediate suspicion. These patients were at once isolated, and an intensive study was started on them. Blood and urine cultures were consistently negative; those from the nasopharynx were also unsatisfactory, owing to the fact that the technic employed at that time was in some respects inadequate. None of these first patients had deep enough pulmonary involvement to yield satisfactory sputum, so that it was impossible to utilize that method of diagnosis.
A detailed account of the epidemic is not within the scope of this paper. It is quite sufficient to state that the disease spread like wildfire, and that in the course of four or five days the hospital was
SPOONER LH, SCOTT JM, HEATH EH. A BACTERIOLOGIC STUDY OF THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC AT CAMP DEVENS, MASS.. JAMA. 1919;72(3):155-159. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610030001001