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February 1, 1941

Current Comment

JAMA. 1941;116(5):416-417. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820050060015

NEW TYPE OF VIRUS FROM EPIDEMIC INFLUENZA  In February and March 1940 an epidemic of acute respiratory disease simulating epidemic influenza occurred at Irvington House, a convalescent home for children with rheumatic heart disease. Reports of an investigation of this epidemic by Francis1 indicate that neutralization tests done with serums obtained from early cases failed to reveal any rise in antibody titer against the standard PR8 strain of influenza virus. One of the ferrets inoculated with throat washings from one of the patients (Lee) developed some respiratory distress. At necropsy on the sixth day, mild bluish discoloration of the lower lobe of the left lung was disclosed. Other investigations indicated clearly, according to the criteria established in 1937 by Francis and his co-workers, that this outbreak of respiratory disease was not associated with the virus of influenza (PR8). However, the serums of Irvington House patients which had not exhibited a rise in convalescent titer against the standard PR8 strain were tested against a 10 per cent mouse lung suspension containing the new virus called the Lee virus. In short, the