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December 15, 1962

Uses of Quantitative Analyses of Bacterial Populations in Sputum

Author Affiliations

New York City
From the Infectious Disease Laboratory, Second (Cornell) Medical Division, Bellevue Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College.; Assistant Professor in Medicine, Cornell University Medical College.

JAMA. 1962;182(11):1082-1086. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050500014004

In most patients with acute bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, routine cultures provide data which enable the physician to administer appropriate antibacterial agents. Occasionally, these cultures give insufficient evidence to assure the physician that his therapeutic regimen is best for the patient. In such cases, quantitative bacteriologic analyses of sputum specimens may be helpful. Seven cases are presented in which quantitative studies provided important information. The uses of the technique fell into three categories: evaluation of dual infections, analysis of the efficacy of therapy in severe infections, and separation of the harmless carrier state from potentially dangerous bacteriologic infection or superinfection.