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July 30, 1927


Author Affiliations

From the John McCormick Institute for Infectious Diseases.

JAMA. 1927;89(5):347-348. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690050013006

Although a vast amount of work has been done to determine the etiology of influenza and a voluminous literature on the subject has accrued, it is not certain that the influenza bacillus causes the disease. Bronchopneumonia in which the influenza bacillus has been the only demonstrable organism present is not infrequent. Cases of purulent meningitis, nearly always fatal, have occurred in which the influenza bacillus alone was found. In 1897, Fraenkel1 reported two such cases, in which at autopsy the meninges were covered with exudate and bathed in green yellow pus. The organisms which were found in direct smears of the exudate were both phagocytized and free. Pericarditis complicating pneumonia and empyema was frequently reported during the epidemic of 1918-1919 and 1920. In 300 necropsies of patients dying of influenzal pneumonia, reported by Stone,2 pericarditis was found in 24 per cent and was usually secondary to empyema. The