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June 1971

Bacterial Pneumonia During the Hong Kong Influenza Epidemic of 1968-1969Experience in a City-County Hospital

Author Affiliations


From the Division of Infectious Disease of the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Emory University School of Medicine, and the Epidemiology Program, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta. Dr. Adler is now a Fellow in Infectious Diseases, Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Boston City Hospital, and Dr. Sullivan is now with the Ecological Investigation Program, Center for Disease Control, Kansas City, Kan.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(6):1037-1041. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310180053006

Bacteriological, serological, and clinical findings in 128 patients with pneumonia admitted to the medical service of Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, during the 1968-1969 Hong Kong influenza epidemic were compared with the findings in patients with pneumonia admitted during a one-year period beginning July 1, 1967. During the influenza epidemic a threefold increase in the incidence of staphylococcal pneumonia occurred, which accounted for 25.9% of the bacteriologically proved cases. A high correlation between pneumonia, especially staphylococcal pneumonia, and influenza infection was documented. Comparison of preexisting disease in patients with pneumonia during the two time periods failed to reveal any major differences, which suggests similar host susceptibility during epidemic and nonepidemic periods. With no change in the case fatality rate, the excess influenza and pneumonia mortality during the Hong Kong epidemic was primarily due to the increased incidence of bacterial pneumonia.