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September 27, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(13):1098. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820390040012

Detailed studies of a recent institutional epidemic have led Coburn and Pauli1 of Columbia University to propose an entirely new theory of infectivity with streptococci which may well prove to be of epidemiologic importance.

The epidemic began in the infants' ward of a New York hospital at a time when streptococcic infections of the upper respiratory tract were at their lowest seasonal ebb. The original source of the outbreak was apparently a 7 months old baby, admitted for pancreatic disease, but who after admission was found to have a progressive bronchitis; sputum and throat cultures showed a preponderance of type 12 hemolytic streptococci. At the time of this discovery all other patients, nurses and institutional personnel were clinically free from hemolytic streptococci. Following his admission three other infants developed type 12 streptococcus infections, and soon afterward seven nurses who cared for these infants acquired "sore throat," pyrexia and intense