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April 9, 1982

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

The Wellesley Hospital University of Toronto Toronto

JAMA. 1982;247(14):1937. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320390021017

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To the Editor.—  The report by Crane et al (1981;246:366) of a fatal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pneumonia in a severely immunocompromised adult is of considerable interest and importance. We recently described a nosocomial outbreak of RSV infection in an oncology unit, in which two patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia had roentgenographically confirmed pneumonias develop (Am J Med Sci, to be published). Substantial rises in complement-fixing antibody titers to RSV provided the basis for our diagnoses, and extensive microbiological investigations failed to reveal any other etiologic agent. Both patients made uneventful, although gradual, recoveries.The patient described by Crane et al received induction chemotherapy during his illness and failed to produce anti-RSV antibodies. In contrast, our patients did not receive chemotherapy during their illness, and both showed specific humoral antibody responses to RSV infection. Humoral antibody responses may have contributed to our patients' survival but did not prevent invasion of