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March 8, 1919


Author Affiliations

Major, M. C., U. S. Army WASHINGTON, D. C.

From the Walter Reed General Hospital.

JAMA. 1919;72(10):717-720. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610100025011

Perhaps the simplest and most obvious inference that can be drawn from a consideration of the epidemic of influenza that has just passed through this country is that it was something unusual, something that had not been seen for many years, and something that has departed leaving few representative cases that can be regarded as typical instances of the disease. Whatever the cause of the disease may be, it is clear that this agent is one to which the body is not accustomed. In fact, it would almost seem necessary to postulate at the outset that this agent is not commonly present in the body under normal circumstances, because it is difficult to conceive that any bacterium or virus that is even partially adapted to the environment of the human body should suddenly become unadapted and assume such a high degree of invasiveness as the agent of influenza possesses. Moreover,