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Article
July 19, 1958

COMMUNITY-WIDE EPIDEMIC OF ASIAN STRAIN INFLUENZA: CLINICAL AND SUBCLINICAL ILLNESSES AMONG SCHOOL CHILDREN

Author Affiliations

New Orleans; Atlanta, Ga.; Montgomery, Ala.; Baton Rouge, La.

From the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Communicable Disease Center (Drs. Carey and Dunn); the Respiratory Disease Unit, Communicable Disease Center (Drs. Robinson and Jensen); and the Louisiana State Department of Health (Dr. Martin). Dr. Carey is now at the Presbyterian Hospital, New York. Dr. Martin is now with the Louisiana State Department of Public Welfare.

JAMA. 1958;167(12):1459-1463. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990290013004
Abstract

An epidemic involving an entire parish in Louisiana in August, 1957, provided the first opportunity in the United States to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of the Asian strain of influenza as it spread through a presumably wholly susceptible population. Serologic studies in addition to a retrospective questionnaire survey were carried out among 428 school children and revealed an attack rate of 65% for subjective "flu," of which 87% was confirmed serologically. An unusual local factor, necessitated by the regularly recurring spring strawberry harvest, was the opening of the schools for classes in July. Most of cases developed before the middle of August. The relation of a high hemagglutination-inhibiting antibody titer to ahistory of clinical influenza was well demonstrated. Of those 323 subjects who showed serologic evidence of infection, 75% had clinically apparent illness. It is believed that the remaining 80 (25%) were carriers who had the infection without experiencing typical influenza.

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