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May 13, 1939


Author Affiliations


From Cornell University Infirmary.

JAMA. 1939;112(19):1901-1904. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800190015004

The Cornell University Infirmary receives practically all seriously ill patients from the student body. Minor ailments, such as common colds without fever, are taken care of at the medical adviser's office or in the offices of practicing physicians of the town.

The infirmary records of the twenty years from 1917 to 1937 reveal that (1) the many cases of "cold and fever" occurred irregularly through every year but always reached their peak sometime in December, January, February or March, (2) pandemic influenza occurred in 1918-1919 and 1919-1920 only, (3) interpandemic influenza occurred in definite outbreaks in 1925-1926, 1927-1928, 1931-1932 and 1936-1937 (table 1) and (4) from eight to sixteen cases of pneumonia occurred through each nine month college year(table 1).

In October 1937 there began to appear a type of infection of the respiratory tract different from anything that we had seen previously. It did not belong to any of the four categories listed. It did not attack large numbers, as interpandemie influenza had usually done, and it was not accompanied in the majority of cases by the bone ache and backache of typical influenza; it was