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March 2, 1994

Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice—IDCP

Author Affiliations

University of New Mexico School of Medicine Albuquerque

JAMA. 1994;271(9):720. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510330102046

In May 1993 a mystery disease was afflicting otherwise healthy adults (median age, 34 years) in the Southwest. Most patients presented with symptoms of fever, myalgias, headache, and cough, followed by respiratory failure. Infectious disease physicians quickly linked this acute illness to the hantavirus, a rodent-borne pathogen never known to exist before in the Western hemisphere.1 Within six months, 26 of the 44 identified patients with hantavirus in 12 states were dead.2

In a preliminary analysis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted, "This cluster of unexplained acute illnesses in the Southwest illustrates the potential for new infectious disease problems to emerge at any time within the United States."3 Indeed, the field of infectious diseases exhibits a dynamic quality in the face of new challenges, and the journal literature, intended to provide communications among practitioners and researchers, reflects this dynamism through its diversification and growth. Into

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