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March 30, 1979

Pulmonary Medicine

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Scientific Publications, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1979;241(13):1387-1388. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290390065043

In recent years advances in the field of pulmonary medicine have resulted either from more sophisticated techniques to measure pulmonary function or from the use of fiberoptics combined with radiology to visualize better and to perform selectively biopsies of lung tissue. These techniques have increased diagnostic accuracy and have led to clearer perceptions of the relationship between lung structure and function. However, in 1978 infectious disease problems commanded the attention of pulmonologists and resulted in the description of a newly recognized entity, Legionnaires' disease,1 and the marketing of a vaccine against a disease long recognized, pneumococcal pneumonia.2

Legionnaires' Disease  Legionnaires' disease, in which the primary organ of attack is the lung, was at first of uncertain origin. Several theories were proposed, including a bacterial infection, a virus infection, an allergic reaction, and a toxin,3 as possible causes. Finally McDade et al4 isolated the causative organism by