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May 12, 1962

RESPIRATORY VIRUSES

JAMA. 1962;180(6):486-487. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050190048010

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Abstract

The acute respiratory illnesses are one of the commonest sources of morbidity in general practice. Such illnesses caused by viruses may be severe or benign. Among infants and children, who are experiencing first infection, the illness may tend to be severe and the end result occasionally may be death. In the aged and debilitated, respiratory viruses may also take their toll. Among the majority of the population, however, acute respiratory illnesses are regarded more as a nuisance than a threat. The consequence of viral respiratory disease is principally reflected, therefore, in the socioeconomic sense, in terms of loss of efficiency, in time lost from productive effort, and in cost for medical care. The National Health Survey, 1957 and 1958, has shown that about 37% of all work-loss days and 67% of all school-loss days, for medical reason, are attributable to acute respiratory illnesses.

Up to 1950, the agents responsible for

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