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January 21, 1939


JAMA. 1939;112(3):240-241. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800030050013

Clinicians have observed for many years that alcoholic intoxication is a predisposing cause of pneumonia and that the death rate in pneumonia in alcoholic addicts is definitely higher than the mortality of abstainers from alcohol. Osler believed that the most potent predisposing factor in pneumonia is the lowered resistance due to alcohol. A most convincing clinical report on alcohol as a predisposing factor in pneumonia was published in The Journal fifteen years ago by Capps and Coleman.1 Among 3,422 cases of pneumonia at Cook County Hospital in Chicago they found that the mortality rate among the excessive drinkers was 49.87 per cent, among the moderate drinkers 34.4 per cent, and among the abstainers or occasional drinkers 22.45 per cent.

Medical literature contains many reports of both clinical and experimental observations which point strongly to the fact that alcoholic intoxication lowers the resistance not only to pneumococcic infections but to

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