March 1962

The Role of Hyperergy in Measles Encephalitis

Author Affiliations

Dr. Hilary Koprowski, Director, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia 4.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(3):273-278. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020285019

This concept of hyperergy in measles was presented by von Pirquet almost half a century ago.1 This great clinician, who coined the term "allergy," was audacious enough to formulate as an explanation of the signs and symptoms of measles a theory which remains very much au courant today. Direct experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis is still as scarce at present as it was in the time of von Pirquet, but indirect evidence accumulated during the past 20 years suggests that a "nonspecific" reaction of the host to a virus infection is perhaps one of the few factors which among many others 2 of less importance may decide the ultimate outcome of the infection. Although we have little knowledge of the mechanisms operative in a virus disease of mammalian species, a hypersensitive reaction of the host to the multiplying virus, or to the products of damage inflicted by the virus on

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