November 6, 1981

New Concepts in Genitourinary Tract Infections

JAMA. 1981;246(18):2019-2023. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320180011008

The Acute Urethral Syndrome 

JAMA:  Legionella pneumophila recently has been discovered to be a cause of atypical pneumonia. In your investigations of genitourinary tract infections, have atypical presentations been the hiding places for uncharacterized diseases of the urinary tract?

Turck:  The analogy is good. In the past we assumed that if a patient with pneumonia didn't have pneumococcal infection he had atypical pneumonia. "Atypical" is the term that was used by the Acute Respiratory Disease Commission workers at the time of the Second World War. When a person had pneumonia that presented like pneumococcal pneumonia but didn't respond to administration of penicillin, then it was termed "atypical pneumonia." A good number of these atypical pneumonias resulted from Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. One analogy to the urinary system is that many people have urethral discharge that doesn't respond to penicillin therapy and, therefore, it is considered atypical. Just as there are many