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To the Editor:—
It is fortunate that lymphocytic choriomeningitis, first called aseptic meningitis, was not called atypical meningitis, or that epidemic nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (The Journal, January 6, p. 1) was never called atypical dysentery. In naming a disease or syndrome, atypical is as undesirable as the prefixes pseudo, meta or para.Controversy on terminology may be unimportant in the face of many more pressing matters, but in regard to the disease now commonly called atypical pneumonia it is unfortunate that a better name is not generally adopted. The term primary atypical pneumonia was used by Cole in his De Lamar Lectures of 1927-1928 to include all primary forms of pneumonia clinically and bacteriologically different from typical pneumococcic lobar pneumonia. The term in this sense included pulmonary infections caused by pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, other bacteria and those of unknown cause. Any pneumonia, therefore, different from the clinical lobar form
Reimann HA. ATYPICAL, VIRAL PNEUMONIA OR VIROID PNEUMONIA? JAMA. 1945;127(9):543. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860090049019
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