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June 3, 1961

Observations on Excess Mortality Associated with Epidemic Influenza

Author Affiliations

Atlanta, Ga.

From the Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

JAMA. 1961;176(9):776-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040220024005

A total of 86,000 deaths in excess of the normally expected number occurred in the United States as a result of the 3 epidemic prevalences of influenza in the period 1957-1960. It was deemed important to characterize these 86,000 excess deaths further in order to define, as accurately as possible, those individuals at highest risk of death from influenza. The high-risk groups were demonstrated to be persons over 65 years of age, persons with certain associated chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and broncho-pulmonary disease, and pregnant women. It may be anticipated that some benefit, in terms of saving of lives, would accrue if these high-risk groups were routinely immunized against influenza.